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Testing to Help Keep Boilermakers Safe

Purdue was deliberate in deciding not to impose a vaccine mandate but rather to offer students, faculty and staff the choice to get vaccinated or to participate in regular surveillance testing for the fall semester.

In all, 1,173 students and 397 employees tested positive for COVID-19 during the semester with 91,673 tests administered by the Protect Purdue Health Center, from Aug. 1-Dec. 31, 2021. And of the unique individuals tested at Purdue during the fall semester, more than two-thirds had been vaccinated.

91,673

TESTS PERFORMED ON CAMPUS

Testing Dashboard

1,570

TOTAL POSITIVE TESTS

1,173
STUDENTS

397
EMPLOYEES

1.71%
OVERALL POSITIVITY
RATE FOR FALL 2021

3.74%
AVG. 7-DAY
POSITIVITY RATE


Of Positive Student Cases

221 Lived in University Residences

76 Lived in congregate housing (fraternity, sorority, cooperative living)

876 Lived off campus


Severity, Isolation and Quarantine

Greater than 99% were asymptomatic, had very mild, mild or more moderate symptoms

Less than 1% had significant or severe symptoms (including hospitalizations)

732
Used campus quarantine
and isolation space

6
Hospitalizations

Contact Tracing Teams Assist Students, Faculty and Staff

By taking a data- and insight-driven approach with its Protect Purdue measures for pre-arrival, surveillance and symptomatic testing, Purdue was able to be more efficient, effective and responsive in helping ensure the safety of its students, faculty and staff and the most vulnerable members of the University community.

  • The Protect Purdue Health Center deployed a team of 25 contact tracers to assist all students, faculty and staff to quickly and effectively respond to cases of or exposure to the coronavirus.
  • Purdue created internal capabilities to rapidly assess, sample and test any student, faculty or staff member reporting COVID-19 symptoms and those identified through contact tracing.

Expertise Tapped for Testing, Sequencing for Variants

A key player in Purdue’s efforts to test thousands of students, faculty members and staff each week for COVID-19 is the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Known as ADDL, the lab gained certification for testing human SARS-CoV-2 samples in April 2020, deploying its trained staff, expertise and equipment to administer the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

Led by Dr. Kenitra Hendrix, clinical associate professor of veterinary diagnostic microbiology, ADDL has answered the call for high-volume, rapid and reliable COVID-19 testing to help ensure the safety and health of the campus population when Purdue reopened for in-person classes in August 2020. Purdue ADDL sampled 7,765 PCR tests for the Purdue community during Fall 2021. The rest, nearly 84,000 tests, were antigen rapid tests administered by the Protect Purdue Health Center.

As word spread about COVID-19 variants that PCR tests could not detect, the ADDL team quickly pivoted to focus on its sequencing capabilities for identifying variants. During all of 2021, ADDL sequenced 1,052 samples identifying the Delta and Omicron variants. In all, the lab sequenced 100+ samples of the Omicron strain, which rapidly surpassed Delta as the main variant circulating on campus during the fall semester.