Blank defended the decision to reopen campus at a faculty committee meeting on Monday, saying UW-Madison will nearly double the number of tests administered within the county and add 35 contact tracers to the county’s ranks.
The number of tests UW-Madison plans to administer — up to 8,000 weekly, covering roughly 15% to 20% of the students and employees expected on campus — closely compares to the percentage of people being tested at the Alliant Energy Center, she said. UW-Madison will run the tests in its own labs and shoulder the cost, which is estimated to be $15 million.
Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled
Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).
which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.
While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state.
The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.
The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.
“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”
Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.
All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.
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