The university has launched a new dashboard to track data from the COVID-19 asymptomatic testing program on campus. The dashboard is located on the same webpage as the original COVID-19 dashboard, but it will only be updated each Friday.
Currently, the dashboard shows that most students, faculty and staff who were invited to participate in the asymptomatic testing program did not respond. The university sent 6,000 total invitations to students, faculty and staff. 74% of those invited did not respond to the email invitation, and 11% opted out of the program.
Of the 5,088 students who were invited to participate, only 588 chose to receive a test. The other 3,958 did not respond, and 542 opted out of the test.
Jean Gispen, a physician with University of Mississippi Employee Health Services, wrote a letter to The Daily Mississippian editor on Sept. 13 urging university community members to participate in the free testing.
“We need to know what the percentage (of asymptomatic people who have COVID-19) is on our campus, so students, faculty and staff can adjust their behavior accordingly,” Gispen wrote in the letter. “This knowledge empowers us to take measures that will get us back to normal as quickly as possible.”
A total of 341 tests have been performed through the program, and two of those tests have come back as positive cases.
Gispen explained that the purpose of the asymptomatic testing is to determine what percentage of asymptomatic people on campus are carriers for the virus.
“If this percentage is 1%, that means only one person in a group of 100 likely has the virus asymptomatically,” Gispen wrote. “But if the percentage is 5%, that means one person in a group of 20 has the virus asymptomatically. And in a group of 50 unmasked fraternity members, if the percentage is 5%, two or three were infected with the virus. If the percentage is 2%, one of them had it. If the percentage is 20%, don’t get in a car with four other people.”
Currently, .59% of people who have been tested have tested positive, but only around 5% of those invited to be tested actually received a test.