Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Feb. 24 to include updated data from UNL’s COVID-19 Dashboard.
In just a little over a month since the University of Nebraska-Lincoln implemented COVID-19 saliva-based re-entry testing, UNL has reduced its cumulative positivity rate by more than 6%.
On Jan. 12, UNL opened saliva testing to a small number of UNL community members before opening it to the rest of campus on Jan. 19. Before implementation, UNL had a cumulative positivity rate of 9.03% on Jan. 11.
The university reported 2,543 total positive cases among 85,821 total test results received between Aug. 12 and Feb. 13 — a positivity rate of about 2.96% of all tests performed. Between Jan. 12 and Feb. 13, UNL recorded 384 positive cases among 61,899 test results received — a positivity rate of 0.62%.
During the third round of re-entry testing — Feb. 8-13, which also included some individuals required to complete a fourth test — there were 44 positive cases recorded among 12,994 test results received — a positivity rate of about 0.34%.
The third-round of re-entry testing was the shortest round, and it yielded the lowest positivity rate. The first and second rounds of testing also yielded positivity rates below 1% — 0.95% and 0.46%, respectively.
The UNL COVID-19 Dashboard collects the testing data, which reflects all COVID-19 test results conducted on and off campus, including both nasal- and saliva-based testing.
New positive cases since Jan. 12 represented about 15.10% of UNL’s total cases, while the test results received since Jan. 12 represented about 72.13% of UNL’s total test results.
On Feb. 3, Chancellor Ronnie Green announced that UNL community members would be required to complete a third round of re-entry testing. This came per a request from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.
Green said in the announcement that if the positivity rate during the third round remained low and there were no “unexpected spikes or outbreaks of COVID cases in our community,” then UNL would adopt mandatory random mitigation testing.
An announcement of the university’s future testing model is expected to be made this week.