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Testing to help keep Boilermakers safe

Testing and contact tracing systems represented the largest share of Protect Purdue dollars and the commitment needed to create the safest possible residential experience for Purdue students and employees during a global pandemic.

$50 Million

University’s Initial Financial Commitment to Successfully Protect Purdue

From the required pre-testing of all students before the start of the fall and spring semesters through an aggressive surveillance testing strategy each semester, hundreds of positive cases were discovered among unknowing people with no symptoms.

By taking a data- and insight-driven approach to its 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, staff and most vulnerable members of the University community.

The result was an uninterrupted level of learning, research and student-faculty engagement during this challenging year, where not a single case of COVID-19 was traced to a Purdue classroom and only one case tied to a research laboratory.

Overall Testing

Academic Year 2020-21

212,456

Tests Performed on Campus

(Aug. 1, 2020-April 30, 2021)

0.62 Days

Average on-Campus Processing Time

(Feb. 1, 2021-April 30, 2021)

6,158

Total Positive Tests

5,439 Students • 719 Employees

2.9%

Overall Positivity Rate

4.26% Fall 2020 • 1.85% Spring 2021

Surveillance Testing

FALL 2020

TestsPositive ResultsPositivity Rate
Overall40,9697481.83%
Students36,9836841.85%
Employees3,986641.61%

SPRING 2021

TestsPositive ResultsPositivity Rate
Overall72,2898391.16%
Students64,4028001.24%
Employees7,887390.49%

Severity of 6,158 Positive Tests:

48

Individuals who had significant or severe symptoms (including hospitalizations)

99%+

Those who contracted COVID-19 were asymptomatic or had very mild, mild or moderate symptoms

14

Hospitalizations

COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing

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.

  • Purdue partnered with Vault Health/Rutgers, CVS Health and Biodesix to test all students before starting classes in the fall and spring semesters.
  • Protocols relied heavily on tracking and responding to daily data for the ongoing surveillance testing plan of on-campus students and employees throughout the year.
  • The Protect Purdue Health Center deployed a team of 35 contact tracers to assist all students, faculty and staff to quickly and effectively respond to cases of or exposure to the coronavirus.
  • The Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (ADDL) in the College of Veterinary Medicine gained rapid Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certification in April 2020 to test human samples for SARS-CoV-2, giving Purdue the capacity to perform up to 2,000 COVID-19 PCR tests per day. To date, the lab has performed 200,000 of these tests.
  • Data analytics including data points — such as Wi-Fi access-points, living, dining and classroom contacts — helped to rapidly identify “hot spots” across campus. This system was developed internally by Purdue’s Institutional Data Analytics + Assessment (IDA+A) unit.
  • The Protect Purdue Health Center also provided COVID-19 testing and case management care for 6,296 spouses and dependents affiliated with the West Lafayette campus.

Protect Purdue testing protocols included testing symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals following federal guidelines with the goals of:

  • Protecting the most vulnerable.
  • Caring for symptomatic and sick individuals.
  • Managing the spread of the virus.

Table of Contents

  • Protect Purdue Plan
  • COVID-19 Testing by the Numbers
  • Campus Culture
  • Healthy Campus
  • Campus Vaccination Clinic
  • Learning and Instruction
  • Physical Spaces
  • Student Experience
  • Workforce Safety and Protection
  • Protecting Research Operations
  • Timely Communication
  • Looking Ahead
  • Protect Purdue Leadership
The Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (ADDL) in the College of Veterinary Medicine gained rapid Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certification in April 2020 to test human samples for SARS-CoV-2, giving Purdue the capacity to perform up to 2,000 COVID-19 PCR tests per day.

26

TO CLIA APPROVAL

2ND

TO OFFER SALIVA SAMPLING

200,000

SAMPLES TESTED

Positive Student Cases

1,104 (20%)

Lived in congregate housing (fraternity, sorority, cooperative life housing)

1,423 (26%)

Lived in University Residences

2,912 (54%)

Lived off campus

Unique system developed to track severity of campus cases

The Protect Purdue Health Center, in consultation with the Medical Advisory Team, developed a severity index to monitor COVID-19 cases on campus and report that information daily on the public Protect Purdue dashboard.

Purdue leadership, which met daily to monitor the situation on campus, utilized this custom index as a tool in guiding campus operations, and it confirmed what medical experts already suspected: The effects of COVID-19 are less severe on young people, and severe cases — including those that lead to hospitalization — are incredibly rare among those 35 and younger, the age group that accounts for the vast majority of the Purdue community.

Of the 6,158 positive COVID-19 cases on campus during the 2020-21 academic year, 99% were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, and 88% of the cases were students.