The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has identified a total of 107 coronavirus cases on its campus since Aug. 12, according to a new dashboard on the university's website.
The new indicator, which incorporates data collected by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department from COVID-19 testing done at the university's Test Nebraska location, as well as other testing sites, went live Thursday evening for the first time.
It shows the first case on campus was reported Aug. 16 at the tail-end of student move-in for the fall semester. The highest number of cases reported in one day was Wednesday, where 31 cases were reported.
"I know many of you had hoped we would have had this information to share sooner. So did we," Chancellor Ronnie Green said in an email to the campus community. "We want to ensure the information we provide is an accurate reflection of the situation on campus."
Green said UNL is confident it will be able to provide accurate and consistent coronavirus test information on a daily basis. The dashboard will be updated around 5 p.m. each day.
On Thursday, UNL reported 15 new cases among students, faculty, staff and other university affiliates and 31 new tests. Since Aug. 12, a total of 889 tests have been reported for those affiliated with the university. The 95 UNL-related coronavirus cases over the past week account for about 38% of the 249 cases reported in Lancaster County.
To date, the overall positivity rate on campus is 12%.
While it will update the dashboard daily, UNL said it will also update campus on small clusters of cases through its social media accounts, as it has twice in the past week.
Over the weekend, UNL said the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority had one positive case and four self-reported cases at its house located at 1545 S St.
And again on Wednesday, UNL reported the Delta Delta Delta sorority had four confirmed cases and one self-reported positive case at its house at 1601 R St.
Members of both houses have been asked to quarantine in line with public health and university guidelines.
"Should we have a larger outbreak or one in a building utilized by a broad number of people in our community — such as an academic building used for classes — we will notify our UNL community via email in addition to sharing on our social media channels and on our COVID-19 website," Green added.
UNL's top administrator urged students and others to "work together" in taking measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
"While I wish we had no cases on our campus, I know that this is not realistic," Green said. "If we all continue to practice our safety measures consistently — on- and off-campus, indoors and out — we can help keep our numbers to a low level where they can be mitigated."
According to The New York Times, which is tracking COVID-19 cases on more than 1,500 American colleges and universities, more than 26,000 cases and 64 deaths on campuses can be attributed to the virus.
UPDATE, Aug. 28, 2020: An earlier version of this story attributed data collected by the New York Times stating the highest number of COVID-19 cases on a college campus to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. A spokesman from that university said the figure used by the Times was incorrect because it included case numbers among its clinical enterprise who are not a part of the traditional university. UAB's actual number is 239.
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