UT Austin COVID-19 case count increases to 282 after adding off-campus testing

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN) — University of Texas Austin’s reported community COVID-19 cases increased by 109 on Wednesday, now totaling 282 student cases.

An update to the University’s COVID-tracking dashboard explains this jump is due to the University retroactively adding data from off-campus tests — not a sharp overnight increase in cases.

The increase is a result of data received from Austin Public Health regarding students who received tests outside of University Health Services. These numbers were already included in Austin’s official count, but not UT’s dashboard.

“There are times when we must retroactively add cases to a previous date due to a gap between when the test results were reported and when the data was shared with us,” UT’s COVID-19 dashboard said in the update. “Reporting the data by the date on which the results were confirmed provides a more accurate reflection of infections than if we were to report by the date on which the university learned about the confirmed case.

UT has reported 282 new student cases and two new faculty cases since opening for the fall semester on August 26. The university has issued a number of precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on campus, including transitioning three out of four classes to an online format, providing free proactive testing, and requiring face masks and social distancing throughout campus.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler says he has weekly meetings with the UT administration regarding COVID-19 precautions, and while he is impressed with the safety measures taken so far, he is worried about how this weekend’s football season opener will impact the community.

“They’re doing a really good job of setting up their dormitory systems and students in school… students have to be wearing masks and they need to know we are serious,” Adler said on Friday. “Putting 25,000 people in the stadium is something that scares me… [it] sends the wrong message and takes too great a risk.”

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