Graphic by Jenna Simon/B&W Staff

LATEST: Lehigh’s active COVID-19 cases nearly cut in half from last week

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Oct 21: There are now 36 active COVID-19 cases among students in Bethlehem, Lehigh’s dashboard reports.

There are now 218 cumulative COVID-19 cases since Aug. 7.

Oct. 20: There are now 35 active COVID-19 cases among students in Bethlehem, Lehigh’s dashboard reports.

The 35 active cases are a decrease from the 43 active cases one day ago. It’s also a large decline from the 82 active cases reported last week.

There are now 214 cumulative COVID-19 cases since Aug. 7.

Oct. 19: Lehigh’s dashboard is reporting 43 active COVID-19 cases among students in Bethlehem.

That represents a significant decline from the 82 active cases reported on Oct. 16. There are now eight on-campus active cases and 35 active off-campus cases.

There are now 210 cumulative cases of COVID-19 since Aug. 7, up from 207 reported on Oct. 16.

Last week’s surveillance testing yielded a 1.07 percent positivity rate — down from 2.53 percent and four percent in the two weeks prior, respectively.

Oct. 16: Lehigh’s dashboard is reporting 82 active COVID-19 cases among students in Bethlehem. That’s a slight drop from the 86 active cases reported yesterday.

There are now 207 cumulative cases since Aug. 7, an increase from seven one day ago.

The positivity rate from this week’s round of surveillance testing stands at 1.07 percent, a decline from the two weeks prior.

Oct: 15: Lehigh is reporting 86 active COVID-19 cases among students in Bethlehem. That’s down from 89 active cases a day ago.

There are now 200 cumulative cases since Aug. 7. The positivity rate for each week’s surveillance testing has dropped since it peaked at four percent the week of Sept. 28. During the week of Oct. 5, the positivity rate was 2.53 percent, and so far this week, the rate is 1.08 percent.

Oct. 14: Lehigh’s COVID-19 dashboard is now reporting active and cumulative cases.

There is currently 26 active cases among students living on-campus and 63 active cases among students living off-campus, for a total of 89 active cases. There has been 60 cumulative positive cases among students living on-campus and 129 cumulative cases off-campus for a total of 189 cases since Aug. 7.

Oct. 13: Lehigh is reporting 177 positive COVID-19 cases among students in Bethlehem. That’s up from 165 one day ago.

Oct. 12: Lehigh is reporting 165 positive cases of COVID-19 among students in the Bethlehem area, according to the university’s dashboard.

Oct. 9: Lehigh is reporting 155 positive cases of COVID-19 among students in the Bethlehem area, according to the university’s dashboard.

That’s an increase from the 147 cases reported yesterday. The week started with 65 positive cases on Monday, Oct. 5. The most recent round of surveillance testing yielded a three percent positivity rate.

The newest numbers come after Lehigh further tightened restrictions on classes, gatherings and campus access. All undergraduate classes will be remote until Oct. 23, libraries and gyms are closed and dining will be entirely takeout. Off-campus students are no longer allowed to access any campus facilities or outdoor spaces.

Additional testing will also be administered, Lehigh announced yesterday.

Oct. 7: Lehigh is reporting 100 cases of COVID-19 among students in the Bethlehem area, according to its dashboard. The numbers reflect an increase from 85 cases yesterday and 65 cases on Monday. On Sept. 30, there were just 15 cases among students in Bethlehem.

Of the 100 positive cases, 66 are among students living off-campus in Bethlehem and 34 are among students living on-campus. The number of students in quarantine and isolation have not yet been updated since Monday.

Oct. 6: Lehigh is now reporting 85 cases among students in the South Bethlehem area. That’s up from 65 cases just one day ago.

The dashboard does not reflect updated numbers of students in isolation and quarantine at the time of publication.

More than half of Lehigh’s positive cases were found through tests administered at locations unaffiliated with the university, the dashboard reports. Of the 85 cases, 52 were found through tests at locations other than Lehigh.

Oct. 5: Lehigh is reporting 65 cases on its COVID-19 dashboard. The new cases are an increase from the 15 cases reported about one week ago.

Of the 65 cases, 19 are on-campus.

There are now 88 students in isolation and 269 in quarantine. Just one week ago, only two students were in isolation and 42 were in quarantine.

Since Lehigh stopped the mandatory surveillance testing the first two weeks of the semester for non-remote students, the university has announced a number of new measures. The most severe step the university took was to significantly scale back campus activities for the next two weeks.

The Brown and White reported all undergraduate classes would be held remotely until Oct. 16, which was later confirmed by an email to the campus community. Both libraries and Taylor Gym will be closed during that time, and all athletic practices and trainings are paused indefinitely.

All dining will be takeout only.

Lehigh announced additional random surveillance testing of the student body will be conducted, which began Sept. 28 and will continue each week until November. The new surveillance testing was announced after the university did not conduct surveillance testing following the first two weeks of the semester for all non-remote students.

Lehigh then updated its testing strategy to include fully remote students in its random surveillance testing. The university also said it would test asymptomatic students listed as close contacts to positive cases. Previously, only symptomatic students could get tested through the Health Center.

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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3 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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