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Launching Protect Purdue Health Center

The Protect Purdue Health Center was established as a 24/7 virtual center in July 2020 under the leadership of Dr. Esteban Ramirez, who was appointed PPHC chief medical officer. Staffed by an expert team of medical doctors, case managers and contact tracers, PPHC coordinated COVID-19 sampling, testing, quarantine, isolation and contact tracing for all students, faculty and staff to quickly and effectively respond to cases of or exposure to the coronavirus. During the 2020-21 school year, PPHC:

  • Deployed 45 dedicated case managers.
  • Employed 35 contract tracers.
  • Responded to 85,108 inbound email inquiries.
  • Addressed nearly 38,000 phone calls through 20 call-center representatives.
  • Supported sampling with 57 COVID-19 testing staffers.
  • Assisted 21,134 individuals during isolation, quarantine and high-risk contacts related to COVID-19. In this capacity, PPHC supported the health and well-being of not only our students, faculty and staff — but also the broader community by assisting, at no charge, campus-affiliated dependents, such as spouses, children and grandparents who live in the home.
  • Administered 32,000+ doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Purdue students, faculty, staff, spouses, dependents and retirees with the help of 437 vaccine clinic employees and volunteers.
Students doing covid testing

A DAILY COVID-19 DASHBOARD REPORTS ON:

CAMPUS TESTING RESULTS
POSITIVITY RATES
CASE SEVERITY

VIEW DASHBOARD

“Success of the Protect Purdue effort has been largely due to our impressive student-body culture. Purdue has an amazing group of students who really wanted to be here on campus, and they were willing to work hard for it — that meant wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene.”

Dr. Esteban Ramirez
Chief medical officer,
Protect Purdue Health Center

Repurposed existing living space as integrated quarantine and isolation campus

Nearly 1,000 beds were prepared and made available to accommodate students who contracted or were exposed to COVID-19, and a network of support systems were put in place to provide the best possible care. New policies and procedures were established that include case manager assignment, transportation to and from quarantine-isolation housing, daily face-to-face check-ins and meal delivery.

To optimize the care provided for students regaining their health from COVID-19, Purdue looked for ways throughout the fall and spring semesters to improve the quarantine and isolation experience. Examples:

  • Purdue Dining & Culinary extended efforts to ensure food served to these students met the University’s standard of excellence, gaining compliments on menu updates and offerings — particularly from those in isolation during Thanksgiving week.
  • By the start of the spring semester, quarantine and isolation rooms were being cleaned and turned around in two days after usage, vs. as many as 10 days in the fall semester. The move improved the quarantine and isolation experience for students and significantly increased the capacity of the campus space.

Supporting students’ mental health while in isolation, quarantine

Knowing how challenging it can be to spend up to two weeks or more in isolation, Purdue units from across campus created a range of robust and dedicated resources to support students physically separated from their peers:

  • Wellness coaching
  • Virtual events
  • Online workouts
  • E-sports
  • Counseling and psychological telehealth
  • Steps to Leaps weekly well-being tips

2,400+

STUDENTS TRANSPORTED TO QUARANTINE / ISOLATION

75,000+

MEALS DELIVERED TO STUDENTS IN ON-CAMPUS QUARANTINE/ISOLATION

24,800+

FACE-TO-FACE VISITS FROM PURDUE FIRE DEPARTMENT PARAMEDICS

Examples of Success

Protect Purdue Proximity System

By May 2020, the Institutional Data Analytics + Assessment (IDA+A) team established the Protect Purdue Proximity System for contact tracing, designing it to be:

  • Flexible and customizable.
  • Built with privacy in mind.

Real-time analytics were instrumental in diagnosing source of spread and assessing when it was contained.

HOW IT WORKS

When Purdue learned of a positive COVID-19 case, the Proximity System identified significant contacts in six areas:

  • Living (on campus)
  • Dining
  • Labs
  • Classroom
  • Proximity
  • Congregate (greek housing and student orgs)

Proximity defined as individuals sharing 30+ minutes on a Purdue Wi-Fi access point

Using Data to Drive Decisions: Protect Purdue Proximity System — Co-Rec

In October 2020, 18 students tested positive who recently had been at the Co-Rec, implying that the Co-Rec was a source of spread. Using the Proximity System to dig deeper, data indicated otherwise:

  • 10/18 cases lived with another positive case.
  • 0/18 were at the Co-Rec at the same time for more than 5 minutes in the previous 30 days.
  • 8/18 had significant contact with 18 other COVID-19-positive individuals in the previous 20 days.

Data from the time period at the Co-Rec overall showed:

  • 73,884 pairs of close contacts who shared a Wi-Fi access point.
  • 2,171 pairs where one was COVID-19-positive.
  • 23 pairs where both were positive.
  • When one COVID-19-positive person visited the Co-Rec, only 1% of their significant interactions could have resulted in the other person contracting the virus.

20-day period beginning late September 2020