Some College-Related COVID-19 Cases Not Included In County Totals

Some College-Related COVID-19 Cases Not Included In County Totals

5:35pm Sep 23, 2020
If college students don’t provide an address corresponding to the county they're attending school in when being tested for COVID-19, they will not be included in the local county’s data —even if they test positive. STEVEN SENNE/AP

Forsyth County Health Department officials say despite university efforts to track COVID-19, some numbers tied to colleges may not be included in county case totals.

Assistant Public Health Director Glenda Dancy says if college students don’t provide a Forsyth County address when being tested for COVID-19, they will not be included in the county’s data, even if they test positive.

“If they listed a permanent address that was out of state, it wouldn't come to the local health department," said Dancy. "It will go to the address that's listed.”

She says the case will be counted by the health department tied to the address they provided. 

“It’s still one of those metrics that I'm not quite sure how to best capture," Dancy said. "And I think that's why the colleges have come up with their own dashboards to kind of track some of those data points.” 

Unlike K-12 schools, universities are not legally required to report information about COVID-19 clusters on campus to the state public health department.

In a press conference last month, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen encouraged colleges to be “as transparent as possible.”

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you’re experiencing.

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