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October 9, 2020

Good afternoon and happy Fall Break, 

We have just published an update to our Data Dashboard. Our testing data for this period represents one of the best (lowest) 2-week stretches we have had all semester. This is both remarkable and meaningful, yet we know the campus is only as safe as our current collective choices as a university — our numbers could grow. It’s one reason why we have so strongly discouraged students from traveling this weekend, and why we will be doubling the number of random screenings next week.

Our robust testing strategy continues across random, reflexive/detection and symptomatic populations using a combination of wastewater monitoring, PCR diagnostic tests and RT-LAMP rapid saliva screenings. Specific to the rapid saliva screenings, after a full month of piloting this method we have had tremendous success in both accuracy of the screening and quickly identifying potential cases. Additionally, our wastewater detection continues to work well and provide us with critical early detection in our residence halls. In fact, we have now preemptively caught at least three potential outbreaks in residence halls using this wastewater monitoring technology. 

Finally, we are looking forward to further improving our speed and efficiency on PCR diagnostic testing in the coming weeks as we pilot yet another new technology — the PCR SalivaDirect test (i.e., “Yale test”). Stay tuned for more information on this exciting new development, in addition to more information about Winter Break and spring semester — all of which will be forthcoming in the days ahead.

Thank you for your commitment to keeping CMU safe.

Best, 

Dr. Amy Bronson, Co-Chair – Safe Together, Strong Together 
VP John Marshall, Co-Chair – Safe Together, Strong Together