University will no longer publish weekly COVID-19 case numbers

Dashboard no longer a “critical tool” in pandemic management

University will no longer publish weekly COVID-19 case numbers

American University will not publish data on positive COVID-19 cases in the community for the fall semester, University officials told The Eagle. 

In fall 2021 and spring 2022, the University had a dashboard that was updated weekly with the amount of positive COVID-19 cases in the AU community, the total number of tests conducted, self-reported hospitalizations and the number of cases in the D.C. area. 

“As we begin the fall semester in a different stage of the pandemic, we have updated our COVID-19 protocols. We will no longer display the COVID-19 dashboard, but all positive self-reports and PCR tests administered through AU are recorded in our tracing system and are used to notify close contacts,” Assistant Vice President for Community and Internal Communications Elizabeth Deal wrote in an email to The Eagle. 

As of Aug. 21, the average positive case rate of COVID-19 in the district was 97 cases, while Aug. 21, 2021 had a daily average of 163 cases. D.C. is currently at a low community level of COVID-19. 

“With many tools available to us for reducing COVID-19 severity, there is now significantly less risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death. The University’s decision to no longer display the COVID-19 dashboard is guided by these conditions,” Deal said. “As we consider an endemic approach to disease management, the dashboard is no longer a critical tool in our day-to-day management of COVID-19.” 

Deal said that the University tracing team will continue to screen case counts for reporting to DC Health in the “unlikely event that the count exceeds a threshold, outlined in the DC Health Guidance.” The threshold count refers to the fact that DC Health requires 10 or more cases within a 5-day period or at a given event to be reported.

According to AU’s COVID-19 Guide, students should self-report positive test results, regardless of whether they tested positive on a test on campus or off campus. 

“As with all infectious diseases, the Student Health Center tracks cases and will continue constant contact with DC Health. If the need arises, we are ready and have the infrastructure to react to changes,” Deal said. 

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