August 19, 2020
Dear Tulane Community:
Since July 27, Campus Health has administered 12,051 screening tests for returning students, faculty and staff from which 47 positive cases have been identified, representing a positivity rate of 0.39 percent.*
In addition to the Tulane testing program, we have confirmed 35 additional positive results from tests that were conducted by outside healthcare providers for members of the Tulane community, based on their symptoms or known contacts. In total, we have identified 82 positive cases. Of these cases, 13 are no longer required to isolate/quarantine, 69** cases remain active and under isolation/quarantine. The immediate contacts of all those who tested positive have been notified. All known active cases and identified contacts are in quarantine or isolation — 92% of Tulane quarantine/isolation space is still available.
Tulane’s Return Testing Program concludes today. Going forward, we will begin testing all undergraduate students weekly — as recommended by public health experts, and all graduate students, faculty and staff at least monthly. Email notices will be sent for scheduling. Please do not visit a campus testing center before receiving an email. The purpose of Tulane’s comprehensive and ongoing testing program is to swiftly identify and isolate all positive individuals — including those who are asymptomatic — in order to contain the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. Determining when it is safe to return to campus for class or work, or to be in the company of others, will be based on discussions with the faculty, staff or student’s health care provider, in accordance with CDC Guidelines.
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we must be vigilant and adhere to all health safety protocols. 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 test results closely. Test numbers, positive cases and positivity percentages will be reported and posted 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, through 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.
*Data as of 8/18/2020 3:00 p.m. The current 7-day average positivity rate for the city is 2.2% and 5.3% for the state.
**Includes asymptomatic and symptomatic cases.