WSU launches new COVID‑19 dashboard

Chart of 14-day positive case counts as of January 20, 2021.
A chart on the WSU COVID-19 dashboard depicting 14-day case count totals dating back to the fall of 2020.

Washington State University has launched a new COVID-19 dashboard featuring the most up-to-date information on the status of the pandemic among the WSU Pullman Cougar community.

Positivity rates, active cases and the 14-day positive case count are among the metrics being tracked and updated daily on the new website.

“The best way for WSU to engage with our community around mitigating the transmission and impact of the coronavirus is to share data openly about what is occurring,” said Guy Palmer, professor of pathology and infectious diseases and one of the leaders of WSU’s COVID-19 task force.

The data on the new COVID-19 dashboard is specific to members of the WSU Pullman community, extending beyond the border of Pullman to include employees who live in nearby communities such as Moscow and Colfax. Its launch furthers the goals of the university to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and be transparent with available data.

“WSU as a whole is focusing more on data as it pertains to decision-making, and this tool is a good representation of that direction we’re moving in,” said Hailey Rupp, an emergency operations project manager focusing on WSU’s response to COVID-19.

The dashboard is being updated overnight on a daily basis with data from Whitman County Health District as well as Incyte Diagnostics, which reports results analyzed at WSU’s One Health Diagnostics laboratory.

The 14-day case count is of particular importance among the metrics, Palmer said, because it includes transmission and quarantine timelines for active cases and best reflects of how the university community is fairing currently.

WSU and its public health partners have been particularly successful in recent months with turning around testing results and conducting contact tracing, contacting people within 48 hours in many cases, said Jason Sampson, assistant director of environmental services, public health and sustainability.

The other statistics tracked on the dashboard are positivity rate, active cases, total positive tests, total tests, and available sequester space. The university has set aside approximately 300 rooms for students to quarantine in on the Pullman campus, Sampson said.

With upwards of 5,000 WSU Pullman students participating in arrival testing, it’s expected that the number of positive cases will rise in the short term, according to Sampson. But by doing this testing now, it’s hoped that the community will avoid further transmissions and overall see a substantially smaller spike than it did in the fall.

The latest information related to the university’s ongoing response to COVID-19 can be found online.

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