Amidst the discussion of tier three restrictions, The University of Nottingham has put in place a daily update system for active COVID-19 cases* amongst its students and staff, as identified by NHS testing. This will replace the weekly updates displayed since the return of students to campus in late September.
Cases at UoN are predominantly among students in private residences and only 3% of the active cases are amongst staff
In contrast to National trends, since last Friday, the University is reporting a positive downward trend of a 29% reduction in cases, leaving 1,086 active cases amongst a student population of 35,000 and 10,000 staff* on the 16th of October. The change comes alongside emerging data that cases at the University are reducing after the peak of 1,530 active cases on the 9th of October.
Data for the spread of COVID-19 in the recent days suggests cases at UoN are predominantly among students in private residences and only 3% of the active cases are amongst staff, with little evidence to suggest they contracted the virus on campus. The data therefore suggests that more vulnerable staff at the University have not been majorly affected by on-campus transmission.
The University also comments on how it has, “commenced its own asymptomatic testing programme which will identify cases earlier and more quickly” to help prevent further outbreaks on campus. A spokesperson for the University highlighted how this has contributed to the high number of total cases compared to other UK universities. Alongside the testing service, two University funded NHS walk in testing centres opened on campus earlier this term.
The shift to a daily total will provide a more accurate understanding of the real-time presence of COVID-19 at the University
Over the last few weeks, many students have had to self-isolate. Displaying only active cases without another figure for the number of students isolating because of contact tracing, doesn’t necessarily give a total portrayal of the social impact of coronavirus on the University. Issues in the government test-and-trace and symptomatic testing service could mean this data will not give a holistic overview of COVID-19 at UoN, something the asymptomatic service is seeking to do with younger people being much more likely to show fewer symptoms.
The shift to a daily total will provide a more accurate understanding of the real-time presence of COVID-19 at the University with rolling totals each day and a clear breakdown of where cases are in the residential sphere of UoN. This may help the University to plan future strategies with a clearer daily assessment of trends around the continued impact of COVID-19 on UoN and our lives.
The active case tracker for COVID-19 cases can be viewed here.
*the number of students and staff in isolation following a positive test result.
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