Graphic by Jenna Simon/B&W Staff

UPDATE: Lehigh finds 14 total positive cases among students

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Sept. 7: Lehigh now is reporting 14 cases of COVID-19. The Brown and White confirmed these numbers with Lori Friedman, Lehigh’s media relations director. 

Seven of the 14 positive tests are of students not in the Bethlehem area who did not travel to campus while still positive. The other seven are currently off-campus in South Bethlehem — four of which came through Lehigh’s Vault Health testing and the other three were reported to the university from an alternate testing facility. 

The dashboard reports 2,025 tests were administered between Aug. 31 and Sept. 6. There have been a total of 6,621 tests in total as of Sept. 7. 

As of publication, there are zero on-campus positive COVID-19 cases and zero cases among faculty and staff.

The positivity rate published on Lehigh’s dashboard, however, only accounts for all tests conducted by Vault Health and does not factor in the three positive cases reported to the university that were conducted by an outside facility. 

According to the dashboard, students who test positive are directed to isolate for a minimum of 10 days after their testing date. All students with positive tests must be cleared to end isolation by the Lehigh Health and Wellness Center in coordination with the Bethlehem Health Bureau.

All students who are not fully remote had to get tested twice during the first weeks of the semester. After those initial two tests, however, the university will now prioritize testing students who are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. 

“In some cases, Lehigh students who have had close contact with positive cases will also be tested,” according to Lehigh’s dashboard.

As of Sept. 7 Lehigh reports there are 13 students in isolation off-campus, 38 students in quarantine off-campus and five students in quarantine on-campus. 

All students who test positive are contacted by the Bethlehem Health Bureau or the Health Center to help complete required contact tracing. 

Aug. 31: Lehigh’s COVID-19 dashboard reports 4,600 test results received from enrolled students, with four positive cases among students living off-campus in the Bethlehem area and zero positive cases among students living in residence halls. 

The positivity rate dropped to 0.087 percent. The positivity rate is calculated by dividing the number of positive cases by the number of tests conducted and then multiplying by 100. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health cautions that a positivity rate of 5 percent or higher is cause for concern.

Of the four positive tests, two were administered by Vault Health as part of Lehigh’s arrival screening. Two were conducted elsewhere, with positive results of off-campus students reported to the Health and Wellness Center. 

A portion of students living off-campus have opted for Lehigh’s fully remote option — these students are not tested by Vault Health, and therefore not included in Lehigh’s testing numbers. 

Non-remote students are tested twice by Vault Health over the first two weeks of classes. Only symptomatic students are tested after the first two weeks of mandatory testing.

Aug. 24: The Lehigh COVID-19 Dashboard shows 2,792 tests have been administered, up from 1,224 tests as of Aug. 19

Nine students have tested positive so far as part of the pre-arrival and on-arrival testing for students, up from seven such cases as of Aug. 19. Three additional student COVID-19 cases have been reported off-campus in South Bethlehem, up from the two cases reported off-campus as of Aug. 19. 

Taken together, the 12 cases represent a positivity rate of about 0.43 percent. For comparison, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health cautions that a positivity rate of 5 percent or higher is cause for concern.

Aug. 19: Lehigh announced it has found a handful of positive coronavirus cases in its pre-arrival and on-arrival coronavirus testing for students who plan to live on campus or did not elect to be “fully remote.”

The university announced in an email to the campus on Aug. 19 that 1,224 tests have been conducted to date. Seven students have tested positive as part of Lehigh’s pre-arrival testing program, and two additional students living off-campus in South Bethlehem have tested positive.

None of those nine total positive cases have been on campus. The seven students who tested positive pre-arrival are remaining home in isolation, the email said.

The Health Center is working with the Bethlehem Health Bureau to “coordinate contact tracing” for the positive South Bethlehem cases, the email said. Lehigh has launched a COVID-19 dashboard to track positive cases.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 are not allowed to come to campus for a minimum of 10 days after his or her testing date. Students with positive tests “must be cleared to end isolation” by the Health Center in coordination with the Bethlehem Health Bureau.

No students living on-campus that have arrived at Lehigh have tested positive so far. Only on-campus students and student-athletes had to complete a pre-arrival test, according to Lehigh’s COVID webpage — all other students that are not fully remote will be tested twice upon arriving in South Bethlehem. 

The email said no student can access campus facilities or attend in-person classes until that student has tested negative. All positive cases are “investigated to determine if there is a wider campus or community safety issue,” the email said, and if such a health threat exists, “an alert to appropriate groups or a campus-wide alert will be issued.”

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2 Comments

  1. Two additional students living off-campus in South Bethlehem have tested positive.

    South Bethlehem means ” Southside Commons building”? will they be isolated in the building ? any risk for other students who live in the building?

  2. Trey Stenersen on

    Great news! Zero student cases on campus. Does this in anyway cause the Administration to rethink the extreme restrictions on campus?

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