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UW–Madison launches campus COVID-19 dashboard

August 28, 2020 By Meredith McGlone

As UW–Madison prepares for the start of the academic year, it is also planning to detect, manage and share data on COVID-19 cases that occur among its campus community.

A new website,, will share key metrics about the results of COVID-19 tests among UW–Madison faculty, staff and students. It will be updated by 2 p.m. daily with information such as the number of tests performed on campus, the percentage of campus tests that are positive, positive cases identified both on and off campus, and cumulative data. The site is flexible and may add additional metrics in the future.

UW-Madison will not disclose names or other information that could potentially identify a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. The university has 35 contact tracers working in cooperation with state and local public health officials to identify and notify anyone who has been in close contact with a UW–Madison student or employee who has tested positive.  Additional contact tracers will be hired as well.

UW-Madison is preparing to resume in-person instruction on Sept. 2.

Earlier today, Chancellor Blank used her blog,, to outline her responses to larger questions — including why UW–Madison is reopening and how she plans for the university to avoid issues that have taken place elsewhere.

Blank noted that COVID-19 remains prevalent in our students’ home communities, including across Wisconsin at a rate higher than in Dane County. She predicted an initial increase in positive cases in Dane County when students return to campus, particularly given the mandatory testing of the approximately 6,500 students arriving at residence halls; move-in began Tuesday.

When cases are detected, UW–Madison has a protocol in place to manage them:

  • Anyone who tests positive is directed to self-isolate and seek appropriate medical care. Students in residence halls may stay in campus isolation/quarantine spaces or return home. UW can accommodate approximately 1,000 people – about 15 percent of the expected residence hall population – in our isolation and quarantine rooms. Students living off campus and their families have been advised about the need to develop plans for how they will isolate or quarantine, or return home, if necessary.
  • Contact tracers will notify anyone believed to have been in close contact (more than 15 minutes within 6 feet) with someone who has tested positive.
  • All necessary cleaning will take place in areas where the infected individual spent time.