Coronavirus testing on college campuses, Virginia Tech adds testing, Radford University reports 12 new positives

Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 10:39 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - As we continue to follow coronavirus and its impact in our hometowns, local colleges are seeing their positive cases on campus drop.

Tuesday, we checked in with Virginia Tech and Radford University to see how they are handling cases.

At Virginia Tech, the school added additional testing on campus at Lane Stadium. Now there are 2,000 appointments available each week where students can schedule a time they see fit. The school has also added mandatory prevalence testing to get a better sample group of where infections stand.

Students receive a notification from the university. They need to make an appointment in two days on the following week at a time that’s convenient for them with their class schedules.

Lane Stadium is where students living on campus got their COVID-19 tests to come back last month, but the facility is now a more permanent fixture of staying ahead of the virus.

“We’re going to continue to use Lane Stadium to do that testing because we’re increasing the numbers and it frankly is a very safe place to do it,” said University Spokesperson Mark Owczarski.

Virginia Tech wants to strengthen up its game by sampling about 1,300 Blacksburg students each week. That’s about five percent of the population.

“It’s trying to get ahead of the infection of this disease by doing the testing sooner, before you’re symptomatic so that if you may have contracted COVID-19, we’re able to put you in isolation,” Owczarski said.

Over at Radford University, the school updated its dashboard on Tuesday to show, yet again, its numbers are going down with only 12 new positives this week. This is now the third week in a row the numbers went down.

“Our compliance and enforcement efforts have proven successful, but now is not the time to let up. Now is the time to dig in and remain committed to the things we must do to continue slowing the spread,” said University Spokesperson Caitlyn Scaggs.

“We’re starting to see that downward trend as well and that is encouraging, but we still must be vigilant,” Owczarski said.

He said the seven-day average is a good number that paints a more broad picture of how numbers are trending.

“The seven-day average is the way to see a trend over a longer period of time without being subject to the peaks and valleys of how many tests you took, or what was the outcome of those tests,” Owczarski said.

At Radford, even after a planned weekend rally with a mask requirement, it is committed to weekly dashboard updates and remains positive.

“We’re very confident that if everyone can continue to do their part to slow the spread, we will be able to maintain the rest of the semester here on campus,” Scaggs said.

This week, the number of tests administered at Radford had a downward trend all week with only one test given Saturday and zero on Sunday after the rally. Scaggs said this is a key piece of information showing that fewer people are in need of a test because not as many people are coming into contact with someone who has the disease.

RU is committing to maintain weekly updates on its dashboard as the semester continues on.

Back at Virginia Tech, since fans can’t go to games this season, the testing model is sustainable for the remainder of the semester with covered areas inside.

There is an appeals process for religious and other reasons why you may refuse a test, but people who simply don’t want to do it will be handled on a case-by-case basis through the student conduct office.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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