Campus News

UB sees decline in COVID-19 cases

Signage designed by University Communications for the public education of best COVID-19 health practices and rules posted on the bus stop shelter at the Flint Loop on North Campus.

This signage designed by University Communications and posted on a bus shelter in Flint Loop reminds members of the UB community of the university's COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki


Published October 23, 2020

“As we are still in the midst of a public health crisis, it is imperative that we continue to adhere to these evidence-based guidelines in order to protect our health and that of our peers, colleagues, neighbors and family. ”
President Satish K. Tripathi

UB has seen a significant decline in the number of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the fall semester. Officials attribute it to the university community’s cooperation with UB’s health and safety guidelines, and a surveillance testing program to detect asymptomatic cases before they spread on campus.

As of Oct. 22, UB’s COVID-19 Dashboard shows just 16 on-campus positive cases for the two-week period that runs Oct. 10 to Oct. 23. During previous two-week periods this fall there were upwards of 70 on-campus positive cases. Hitting a threshold of 100 positive cases in a two-week period would trigger a temporary transition to fully remote learning, per SUNY guidelines. Only a few SUNY schools have needed to make this transition to date.   

At UB, dedicated teams of people from across the university have been working around the clock each day to reduce the spread of the virus and keep students, faculty and staff safe, said President Satish K. Tripathi. Compliance with UB’s health guidelines, particularly those centered on mask-wearing, physical distancing and surveillance testing, have been remarkably good, Tripathi noted.  

As of Oct. 22, UB had conducted about 11,300 coronavirus tests, including more than 7,700 surveillance tests. The university is now conducting about 2,000 tests per week.

“Throughout the pandemic, the health and safety of our university community has been our foremost priority,” Tripathi said. “The fact that our positivity rate of COVID-19 at UB has been low is a testament to the diligence of our students, faculty and staff in complying with our health and safety protocols. Of course, this is no time to let down our guard. As we are still in the midst of a public health crisis, it is imperative that we continue to adhere to these evidence-based guidelines in order to protect our health and that of our peers, colleagues, neighbors and family.”

UB’s COVID-19 dashboard is updated each day from reports provided to the university by the Erie County Health Department, and corroborated with information gathered by the university from Student Health Services, the Division of Athletics and UB’s reporting hotline.

According to the dashboard, UB’s rolling 14-day count of positive cases is at its lowest point for on-campus cases (18) since the first week of the semester, with only seven students from residence halls currently positive. Most UB students who test positive have mild symptoms; the university is not aware of more serious cases among its student body.

Off-campus positive cases have declined markedly as well. Only 12 students who live off campus and are taking classes entirely remotely have tested positive in the past 14 days. The decline results from a concerted effort by UB Student Life staff to discourage off-campus parties and reflects students’ cooperation and compliance with UB’s health guidelines.

A communication campaign to discourage student parties on Halloween weekend, and inform them of the consequences of non-compliance under UB and SUNY policy, is ramping up next week, according to Christina Hernandez, interim vice president for student life.

“Our students have done a great job in following the guidelines on and off campus, and I want to thank them for helping stop the spread on campus. With Halloween approaching, it’s especially critical that students remain vigilant so that we can ensure the fall semester isn’t disrupted due to a large spike in cases,” Hernandez said.