August 13, 2020
Dear Tulane Community:
Since July 27, Campus Health has tested 7,642 returning students, faculty and staff. Over these 17 days we have identified 33 positive cases. identified 33 positive cases. This is a positivity rate of 0.43 percent, which is far below that of the city (1.9%) or state (5.9%). Most of these individuals are currently isolating at home, and their immediate contacts have been notified. Many of these cases are local students, faculty and staff. Absent Tulane's asymptomatic testing program, these cases would likely have gone undetected and led to further community spread.
Although, so far, these results are encouraging, we must remain vigilant. Tulane's testing program is only one part of the university's comprehensive plan, which also includes daily symptom tracking, mandatory face coverings, social distancing and personal hygiene. In addition, Tulane has issued strict guidelines prohibiting large parties or gatherings of students on or off campus. Tulane students, faculty and staff must undergo training and agree to follow all safety protocols both on and off campus. Every student, faculty and staff member who will be part of the Tulane community this fall will share in the responsibility to comply with the policies and procedures that have been put in place.
We will be monitoring these numbers closely, and test numbers, positive cases and positivity percentages will be updated weekly on the Return to Campus website. Besides promoting a safe return to on-campus learning, living and working, Tulane's COVID-19 testing program will benefit members of the New Orleans community in many ways.
As the city's largest private employer, Tulane will be providing screening for thousands of local students and employees, including contract workers and vendors, in a free, robust testing and contact tracing program. This will serve as a valuable addition to the city's COVID-19 testing and tracing efforts.