UC Berkeley’s University Health Services releases COVID-19 testing dashboard

Infographic showing the cumulative number of positive COVID-19 tests at UC Berkeley
Connor Lin/Senior Staff

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UC Berkeley’s University Health Services, or UHS, announced its release of a COVID-19 dashboard Monday that displays testing data in “real time.”

Accessible to the public from the UHS or campus websites, the automated dashboard shows the total number of tests, the number of people tested and the total positive cases from UHS, according to UHS spokesperson Tami Cate.

“It’s definitely so that we would be able to track the trends and have folks be able to see the trends more real time,” Cate said. “It’s moving from a manual to a more automated process.”

Although there was already a tracker on the campus’s COVID-19 page that reported positive cases, it did not show data trends. The dashboard is able to track daily and weekly trends and is more in alignment with other health organizations’ dashboards, including the city of Berkeley’s dashboard, according to Cate.

The data maps the total number of tests given to students, staff and others. Currently, the largest portion of data is from students. Test results are solely based on polymerase chain reaction swab tests done at UHS and not COVID-19 immunity tests, according to Cate.

“This is kind of a more standard way of how positive COVID cases are getting reported out,” Cate said. “It’s kind of bringing us up to standard.”

Because UHS performs a number of different types of testing, one of the main challenges faced when creating the dashboard was compiling all the data into one place, according to Cate. Cate also said in addition to testing for COVID-19 symptoms, UHS has also been administering tests to support research projects.

Additionally, UHS is collaborating with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health’s Safe Campus Initiative, according to the School of Public Health’s website.

Cate said the dashboard will be one of many tools that campus could use in coordination with the city of Berkeley and the Alameda County Public Health Department. She added that students and faculty may be tested at city or county testing centers or under their own health insurance.

“We know that there are definitely other ways to get tested,” Cate said. “It’s really one snapshot as a tool that will be used.”

The dashboard will also accommodate different types of testing in the fall, including testing for those who are symptomatic and surveillance testing for those who are asymptomatic, Cate said.

UHS has not decided whether more data points, such as hospitalization and deaths, will be added to the dashboard, but there will be different things to report on in the future, Cate added.

“It could evolve with the needs of all,” Cate said. “We’re happy to have it posted and out there. It shows more real-time for everybody where we’re at.”

Contact Zoe Chen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @zoe_chen820.