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Saturday, September 18, 2021

University COVID-19 dashboard returns after summer hiatus with testing and vaccination info

Article Originally Published by Juan Betancourt on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Juan Betancourt on North Texas Daily

The university’s COVID-19 dashboard, which has kept track of the campus’s positive weekly cases since the fall 2020 semester, is back after updates were paused in June.

The last update before the dashboard was stopped on June 1 reported 1,920 positive COVID-19 cases. As of Aug. 31, 2,278 positive cases have been reported since the dashboard’s launch.

“The dashboard was removed during the summer months because campus was not densely populated and case numbers had remained low,” Leigh Anne Gullett, associate director of reputation management of the Brand Strategy and Communications, said in an email. “We have [and] will continue to regularly adjust the information on the health alerts site to best serve our community needs as circumstances evolve.” 

Some students, including Jabari Powell, a freshman studying French, said he did not know the COVID-19 dashboard had been down since June.

“Three months is a big amount of time, especially for how fast COVID spreads,” Powell said.

As of Aug. 27, the updated dashboard shows 133 active COVID-19 cases, made up of 107 students and 26 university employees. In total, there have been 201 cases at the university since Aug. 13. Case numbers have risen over the past three weeks, from 34 to 82 to 101.

On campus, 143 positive COVID-19 tests have been reported since students returned for the fall 2021 semester. A total of 2,354 tests have been administered by the university over the past two weeks.

As of Aug. 30, Denton County Public Health reported 88,916 COVID-19 cases with 10,494 active cases. The county also has 206,946 people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 198,103 who have received a second dose and 574 people with a third dose.

Kerry Stanhope, assistant director of the Meadows Center for Health Resources, said there has been an increase in on-campus vaccinations from July to August. Stanhope said 1-to-3 doses were administered each day in July, with a rate of 1-to-5 doses during the first week of August and between 12 to 24 doses when students came back to campus later that month.

Stanhope said there has been a total of 5,426 vaccinations administered on campus as of Aug. 27. These have been spread across three different brands of doses, with 810 doses of Johnson & Johnson, 2,413 first doses of Moderna and Pfizer and a total of 2,203 second doses.

Stanhope said the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine and the rise of the delta variant may be the cause for the increase of COVID-19 vaccinations at the university.

“We’ve had some people who indicated that they were waiting for the move from the emergency-use authorization to the full authorization, which Pfizer just passed that cap with,” Stanhope said. “I think that that’s helping some people [be] more confident in the vaccine and [for] others, there’s a lower likelihood of having some kind of reaction to it.”

Biology junior Simine Rahimi said although the high vaccination rates on campus make her feel safer, she is still concerned about the positive COVID-19 cases at the university.

“If [a student or staff member tested positive] here, that doesn’t really make me feel safe,” Rahimi said. “And to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if we do shut down.”

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

Source: North Texas Daily

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