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How to use the SUNY COVID-19 Case Tracker

The SUNY online portal that the public can

The SUNY online portal that the public can use to track COVID-19 infections. Credit: SUNY

The State University of New York has created an online portal that allows students, families and the general public to track infections of COVID-19 as well as testing at all 64 campuses. The website is at https://www.suny.edu/covid19-tracker/ and is updated daily. Overall, SUNY has had 1,473 students test positive for the virus after 70,827 tests, as of Wednesday. SUNY enrolls more than 415,000 students.

Here’s how to use the tracker:

The page opens to "system-wide data" for the entire SUNY system. This will show the total number of positive cases and other data in the tracker at all campuses.

For data on a specific campus, click on the school's name from the box, which is located in the center of the screen for mobile users and along the left rail of the web page for desktop users as shown in the screenshot above.

The default query first seen by a user of the tracker is for the current two-week period. That means only new cases found during that period are reported. This box, pictured below, shows the estimated total of positive cases. Underneath that, on mobile, (or to the right on desktop) is the "trigger," or the number of cases in a current two-week period that would force a campus to go fully to remote or online learning.

The "trigger for transition to 100% remote learning" is either 100 cases or 5% of the total on-campus population including students, faculty and staff, whichever is less and only for the current two-week period.

None of the students counted in the Aug. 28 to Sept. 11 period are included in the current period, although some of the students who tested positive for the virus from Aug. 28 to Sept. 11 are still isolated on campus.

Under SUNY’s method, a campus could have enough cases in the second week of one period that, if added to the first week of the subsequent period, surpasses the trigger threshold to go fully remote. But under SUNY’s rules, if the total of the current period alone remained below the threshold, the campus would not be triggered to go to full remote learning.

This is not how the state Health Department tracks positive cases in counties. The state tracks most infections daily and the beginning date of a two-week period advances each day to closely track the trend in infections.

Chancellor James Malatras said SUNY’s method is approved by the state Health Department. "Our campuses have the ability to identify trends early and implement strict mitigation efforts well before the threshold is reached and we will continue to do so," he said.

In the SUNY online tracker, parents and students can get a more complete picture of the virus on campus by changing the period of time in the "14 Day Periods" drop box. A user can click the previous two-week period or "all" for a year-to-date total.

"Campus administered testing" reflects tests taken only on campus, not through private physicians or at clinics or state and county testing sites off campus. For each campus, the data shows "new positives yesterday," "new positives past seven days," and "new positives past 14 days." Placing a cursor over the numbers prompts a box that defines the different testing methods.

The "daily testing data" allows a user to examine the number of positive tests and total tests for the previous 10 days, weeks and months by selecting different time periods in the drop box. Placing a cursor over the bars in the chart prompts a box that further explains the sources of the data.

The quarantine and isolation section shows the number of students who are quarantined as a precaution because they have been around others who tested positive for the virus.

A student who is quarantined for 14 days as a precaution means he or she has no symptoms but had been around someone who tested positive, although not closely. A mandatory quarantine is ordered for a student who has no symptoms but had been within close contact – 6 feet or less – to a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

Students are "isolated" because they tested positive for the virus, whether or not they show any symptoms. They can be isolated on campus often in a dorm selected for the purpose, or off campus at their apartment or a hotel or other residence. The tracker breaks down on- and off-campus isolation. Placing a cursor over the numbers on a desktop computer provides more detail on the definitions.

The tracker also shows how many on-campus rooms are available for quarantine and isolation and how many are currently being used. SUNY-wide, 5,159 rooms on campuses have been set aside and 605 were in use as of Wednesday.

"Hospitalizations & fatalities" are broken down into student and employee categories "to date." Throughout the system, one student and no employees were hospitalized and no students or employees have died from the virus, according to the tracker.

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