July 17, 2020

First arriving Purdue students test at an infection rate below 1%

Note to journalists: Journalists visiting campus should follow visitor health guidelines.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The first group of students arriving for Purdue University’s Summer Start and Early Start programs had an infection rate for COVID-19 of 0.60%. Of the 504 students and mentors participating in these programs, three tested positive for COVID-19. None were experiencing symptoms, and each is temporarily living in the dedicated isolation area on campus under the direction of Dr. Esteban Ramirez, chief medical officer for the Protect Purdue Health Center.

“We will be preparing a more thorough assessment of these testing results with our medical advisory team; however, we believed it was important to communicate these early results as more colleges and universities have announced testing plans for students this fall,” said Dr. Eric Barker, dean of pharmacy at Purdue University and a member of Purdue’s medical advisory group. “What we learn now through this early testing will help as we administer the much larger program moving into the fall semester.”

Barker said details are being developed on how the university will communicate testing results as students return to campus and on an ongoing basis following the start of classes in late August.

“In light of the recent infection outbreaks across the United States, Purdue has determined it is vital to test all students prior to their return to campus,” Ramirez said. “This group of Summer and Early Start students represents the first group of arriving students and allows us to begin to understand the baseline of infection for students arriving in our community.”

The Summer Start and Early Start students were tested July 9 and 10 as part of their arrival and orientation process on the West Lafayette campus. Sampling and testing was done in collaboration with partners Vault Health and Rutgers’ RUCDR Infinite Biology lab using the first FDA authorized, saliva-based, qPCR test for SAR-Co-VID-19 virus. 

About the Protect Purdue Health Center

The single-point health center for all things COVID-19-related for the Purdue community, the Protect Purdue Health Center is staffed with a dedicated team of physicians, registered nurses, case managers, contact tracers and support staff. The PPHC also is working closely with Purdue’s Health Monitoring and Surveillance Team to ensure the safety, health and well-being of individuals and the community. The PPHC is available at 765-496-INFO (4636) or toll-free at 1-833-571-1043.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at purdue.edu.

Media contact: Tim Doty, doty2@purdue.edu 

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