Perception: UConn must be downplaying the impact of the coronavirus on campus because a major national news outlet is portraying it on a map as having several dozen more positive cases than the University’s dashboard shows.
Truth: The news outlet’s figures blend scores of positive cases recorded among UConn Health medical workers last spring – the height of the pandemic — with cases today among students and non-medical workers at UConn Storrs and the regional campuses.
UConn’s dashboard is the official source of information about cases at UConn Storrs and the regional campuses, and reflects regularly updated data that comes directly from University records and health tracking.
All students who live in UConn Storrs and UConn Stamford residential housing were tested in August when they moved in, and the University continues targeted and random testing on a regular basis to ensure the health and safety of the community.
All students and employees who are regularly visiting a UConn campus – whether for classes, work or both – also were required to be medically cleared with a negative test. Ongoing surveillance testing also continues with these groups.
Like many other public flagship universities and large institutions, UConn has an academic medical center where operations are unlike the rest of the institution’s residential (Storrs/Stamford) and commuter campuses (Hartford, Avery Point, Waterbury, School of Law).
Due to the nature of UConn Health’s mission, its medical employees have been on the front lines of pandemic response and care, particularly last spring as it treated patients at UConn John Dempsey Hospital.
While the outlet’s story references UConn as an institution whose medical enterprise may lead to higher numbers, it does not delineate those numbers in the story or the prominently displayed map.
As of September 2020, the UConn Health workers’ cases from spring comprise 90 cases of the total number of positive coronavirus infections presented by the outlet.
This creates a circumstance where, at first glance, UConn appears to have an unusually large number of current and/or recent student cases that do not match the figures on the official dashboard. The university continues conversations with the news outlet about its approach and alternatives that UConn believes would better reflect health and safety on its campuses.