The dashboard: COVID-19 testing stats for Yale and Connecticut

Yale has launched an online dashboard for local COVID-19 statistics that is open to public view and intended to serve as a convenient community resource.

Michael S. Helfenbein/©

Yale has launched an online dashboard for state and campus COVID-19 screening statistics that is open to public view and intended to serve as a convenient and reliable community resource. It will be updated weekly.

Located on Yale’s main COVID-19 information site, the dashboard provides the latest available information from Yale Health about both symptomatic and asymptomatic testing and cases within its population, plus a Connecticut-wide snapshot based on state data.

Yale Health provides health care for nearly 80% of university faculty and staff, plus students, retirees, and dependents.

Together, the state and campus health statistics offer a glimpse of both immediate and long-term trends that affect the health and well-being of the Yale community and its neighbors.

The idea of the dashboard is transparency,” said Tim Pavlis, associate vice president for strategy and academic business operations. “I think everyone struggles with bad information in this pandemic — too little, too vague, too unreliable. We at Yale don’t have perfect information, either, but we have some important data from both the state and from Yale that we are looking at as we formulate university plans. The idea is to share that same information with the community.”

Yale’s Contact Tracing and Testing Committee, Office of Institutional Research, Information Technology Services, and Office of Public Affairs & Communications developed the dashboard collaboratively.

The data fall into two main areas: a high-level summary of COVID-19 testing at Yale based on Yale Health data, and similar statewide information drawn from the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

The dashboard, which may incorporate interactive features later this year, opens with a broad overview of the statistics, and differentiates between two main categories of testing, symptomatic and asymptomatic. Asymptomatic testing refers to screening for people who show no symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Asymptomatic individuals with the disease could unwittingly spread it to many others.

Yale’s testing data appear next: the number of tests conducted, the number of positive cases, and the percentage of positive cases. Testing statistics for subpopulations — employees, students, dependents, and retirees — are broken out.

The dashboard currently shows testing data from early March to mid-July.

Symptomatic testing has been available throughout the pandemic to Yale Health members presenting with COVID-like symptoms. Asymptomatic testing at Yale began May 20.

In all, the university has identified 209 positive cases via symptomatic testing (including 36 positive cases since May 20) and seven positive cases via asymptomatic testing. As of July 14, 1,644 employees and 1,199 students had taken asymptomatic tests.

The overall percentage of positive tests for Yale since May 20 — including both symptomatic and asymptomatic testing — is 0.8%.

The dashboard does not include information about individuals who were tested by health care providers outside of Yale Health.

The dashboard concludes with health statistics for Connecticut, including figures for positive cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. The information is presented both on a statewide and a county-by-county basis.

We’re not trying to tell people how to interpret the data,” Pavlis said. “But we hope this will give people some more concrete facts. I for one find the Connecticut data quite encouraging, and it inspires me to persevere in the steps we’re all taking in our daily lives, such as wearing masks. They seem to be having a real, positive impact on the trajectory in Connecticut.”

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Part of the In Focus Collection: Yale responds to COVID-19

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Fred Mamoun:, 203-436-2643