Rider reports one new coronavirus case despite amount of tests taken

By Austin Ferguson  

Rider University reported that only one member of the Rider community tested positive for COVID-19 from Feb. 8 to Feb. 14, the university’s online dashboard said on Feb. 16.

The lone positive, which was reported as coming from an on-campus student, is a drop-off from the reported five positive cases from Feb. 1 to Feb. 7.

The drop-off in positive tests came in stark contrast to the report in a large uptick in tests administered, with the university reporting 269 tests from Feb. 8 to Feb. 14, compared to 160 the previous week.

The university also reported a significant reduction in students in quarantine over the past two weeks. Rider’s dashboard reported 13 students in quarantine on campus on Feb. 9. As of Feb. 16, no students were quarantining on campus. The men’s basketball team was previously in quarantine, with reports that it exited quarantine on Feb. 12 after previously receiving a positive test in its tier 1 personnel. 

Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Planning and Secretary to the Board Debbie Stasolla said that it can be expected for a large portion of quarantine instances to be related to various protocols for Rider’s athletics teams due to increased volume in testing.

“The majority of the quarantine cases that we’re dealing with right now involve an athletics team,” Stasolla said on Feb. 9. “Because of the nature of how they practice and compete… it’s the nature of those interactions that will likely result in a full team or a portion of a team having to quarantine when we find a positive case.”

According to Stasolla, COVID-19-related numbers in cases, testing and quarantining are included in the general population numbers on the COVID-19 dashboard.

As of Feb. 16, no students are actively isolating on campus, compared to one student who was isolated on campus the prior week.

For off-campus numbers, no students or employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since Jan. 31, five students are quarantining off-campus and one student is isolated off-campus as of Feb. 16.

Between Feb. 15 and 16, 145 COVID-19 tests were administered, all of which came through the surveillance testing system. 

In all, 1,874 COVID-19 tests have been administered, which now surpasses the Fall 2020 total of 1,810 tests. 

All but 20 tests administered in the Spring 2021 semester were taken through the surveillance testing program. The other 20 tests were administered through the university Health Center. At the end of the Fall 2020 semester, 82 total tests were given through the Student Health Center.

As of Feb. 16, 23 total cases of COVID-19 have been reported on the university dashboard for the Spring 2021 semester, with 16 of those cases coming from students. Though there were significantly fewer tests being administered, Rider reported six positive COVID-19 cases through the first seven weeks of the Fall 2020 semester.

Caption: Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Planning and Secretary to the Board Debbie Stasolla said the majority of cases that are being dealt with now involve an athletic team. 

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