Briefing, October 21, 2020

Test Results: There are 27 new positive COVID-19 cases reported today from on campus testing sites, 22 students and 5 employees. There are no positive cases of UW–Madison students or employees reported from off-campus testing sites today. The percent positive rate today for students tested on campus is 1.4% percent; the 7-day percent positive rate is 1.0 percent.

Following the weekend’s planned outage of the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System, 2 students and 1 employee who tested positive at off-campus testing sites in recent days were added our data today.

How to stay safe: COVID-19 cases across Wisconsin are alarmingly high and some health care systems in the state are overwhelmed. Public Health Madison & Dane County is urging residents to stay vigilant and stay home, advising people to limit trips out, to avoid gathering in-person, to practice physical distancing, wash hands frequently, stay home when sick and to continue wearing masks, which should not be used in place of other protective measures.

The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu vaccine. Due to COVID-19, it is important to protect yourself from the flu and help reduce the strain on the health system. UHS continues to offer the vaccine to students with SHIP. Off campus, flu vaccines are available through primary care providers and at many pharmacies, grocery stores and big box retailers. Find an option near you.

Testing appointments: Testing appointments remain available Monday through Friday. There is pedestrian and drive-up curbside testing at Porter Boathouse. Check all campus testing locations in the MyUHS portal to find the earliest possible appointment.

Isolation and quarantine: As of this morning, 12 students are in on-campus isolation and 9 are in Housing quarantine, in addition to those in fraternity and sorority chapter houses. Read more about quarantine, isolation and testing follow-up procedures.

Hospitalizations: We are not aware of any students or employees currently hospitalized with COVID-19. However, state and local hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at a record high and Dane County’s health systems are making adjustments to non-emergency and non-urgent procedures and services in order to prioritize the pandemic-related health care needs of our community.

COVID-19 in our community: Public Health Madison & Dane County announced Wednesday that due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the broader community, PHMDC contact tracers are not able to contact everyone who tests positive and their close contacts. However, UHS contact tracing continues to operate normally and handle contact tracing for anyone identified as a UW–Madison student or employee and their close contacts.

Cases have been on the rise in every Wisconsin county since September 1. This includes counties with and without a college campus. This is the time of year when respiratory viruses typically begin to spread in communities. Due to the actions the university took to contain a rise in cases early in the semester, including robust testing, isolation of positive students, and quarantines, COVID-19 cases have remained low on campus since the third week of September. UW–Madison remains committed to doing its part to keep transmission low and encourages all Wisconsinites to remain vigilant, follow public health guidance, and to do their part to limit the spread of COVID-19.

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