VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) – While the South Dakota Department of Health is releasing COVID-19 numbers for universities once a week, the University of South Dakota decided to do something different by giving daily updates on cases and quarantines. And the numbers are increasing.
USD students returned to campus just last week.
“Able to present it in a format that protects the students privacy and also shows what we are at USD,” assistant vice president for research compliance, COVID-19 task force member, Kevin O’Kelley said.
The dashboard shows the known number of COVID-19 cases for students, staff, and faculty.
It also breaks down the number of active cases for employees and students, and those currently in quarantine.
“If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they go into isolation, we ask them to stay by themselves, in their room, have their roommates bring them food or if they are on campus, we bring them food, and they need to stay inside for a certain period of time and not contact anyone else,” Kelley said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 98-students and staff members have active cases of the virus. More than 400 people are quarantined.
“If they are a close contact with a person who tests positive, so for example the roommate of a person who tests positive, we are going to ask them to quarantine, which means they are not necessarily sick, but we are asking them to flatten the curve by staying by themselves for a period of time,” Kelley said.
Students, like Carter Larson, say this data can be beneficial.
“It shows just how real the virus is and how they should be following social distancing guidelines inside and outside the classroom,” student government association vice president, student, Carter Larson said.
O’Kelley says it’s important everyone does their part to protect the community.
“These numbers are not outside our framework of expectations, but we are monitoring it on a daily basis,” O’Kelley said.