SUNY launches COVID dashboard for all 64 schools

Testing and tracing of positive cases is being done across entire State University of New York system on one platform
By: | September 8, 2020
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Within just two days after its unveiling, the numbers of positive cases on campuses across the State University of New York system are already being reported on a new dashboard dedicated to tracing results at all 64 of its colleges and universities.

At SUNY-Binghamton, officials have conducted more than 6,000 tests over the past two weeks with 34 coming back positive. At SUNY-Oneonta, there have been 239 confirmed cases, or 9.4% of the 2,500 students tested. The numbers provide a detailed look into how each of the campuses is faring, not only in the ability to control any potential spread but contain it. Moving forward, that information will be essential in protecting staff and faculty and keeping universities running.

“This new dashboard will help students, parents and faculty stay informed with the latest data,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “I urge our SUNY community to stay vigilant as the virus continues to be a national and global crisis – wear masks, socially distance and be smart.”

Overall, there have been a little more than 1,000 positive cases reported across the SUNY system in the nearly 34,000 tests that have been done. The dashboard displays campus-by-campus metrics but also has a number of features in its summary section, including quarantine and isolation status, space availability at all of the campuses and even hospitalizations and fatalities. There has been one employee death and one student death reported.

“As coronavirus cases spring up on our college campuses, we are reviewing real-time case data around the clock,” State University of New York chancellor Jim Malatras said. “This data is crucial to helping SUNY make quick, smart decisions that contain COVID-19 and protect our campus communities.”

Malatras said it is important that facts and statistics are shown to the public, to promote transparency and be proactive in the fight against coronavirus.

“Everyone can now access that same data,” he said “Controlling this virus is a team effort. We owe students, faculty, staff, and surrounding communities easily-accessible, up-to-date case information. If we are all informed and resolve to work together to make data-driven decisions in the interest of public safety, we can keep COVID-19 cases down and have a successful semester.”

The data is being reported by each campus every 24 hours and added daily to the dashboard. Though its rate of reporting is fast, officials say the tracker could be updated even further as new information and relevant categories become available.

One of the easy-to-read features on the site is a bar graph that shows the number of positive cases across the system from day to day. For example on Sept. 2, there were 333 cases among 18,000 tests. Over the next five days, in about 3,500 tests, there were 27. Currently there are 959 students in quartantine and another 564 in self isolation. There are 470 rooms across the system being use and 3,070 available.

It is this kind of succinct data that can help universities better manage situations they have and plan for the future.

Other university systems, including the University of Alabama and University of Illinois, have rolled out their versions of dashboards to keep students, staff, faculty and the public informed.

The University of Illinois has separate dashboards for each university, with fever charts and graphs that show new cases and positivity percentages. At its main campus in Urbana-Champaign, it has done more than 230,000 tests with a 1.21% positivity rate. During each day on Sept. 3 and 4, it conducted more than 14,000 tests.

Chris Burt is a reporter for University Business. He can be reached at