SARS-CoV-2 at Connecticut’s Colleges: The Tripod Charts Cases Across the State

Daniel J. Nesbitt ’22

Managing Editor

The choropleth map above shows the relative amount of confirmed COVID cases  for  nine Connecticut colleges and universities. The data shown were obtained from the New York Times interactive page “Tracking Coronavirus Cases at U.S. Colleges and Universities,” and the data are current as of Thursday, Sept. 3. The yellow regions on the map indicate an area with large numbers of confirmed COVID cases, while the  lighter, purple regions indicate an area with relatively few confirmed COVID cases at colleges. 

It is important to note the limitations of this dataset. First, all these data compiled by the Times is all publicly available, meaning delays in reporting by schools could result in out-of-date, inaccurate data. Second, each school has a different, unique plan for re-opening, with varying combinations of remote and in-person learning, which could result in increased or decreased likelihood of infection. Finally, each school likely has a different testing protocol, meaning positive cases could be detected more quickly at certain schools than others, and with varying degrees of accuracy depending on the specifications of the test employed.

The choropleth shows that the University of Connecticut, located in Storrs, CT (yellow region, top right), has the greatest number of cases among Connecticut schools with 186 confirmed COVID cases as of Sept. 3.  Yale Univesity has the second-greatest case total with 126 confirmed COVID cases, shown as the large colored region over New Haven, CT. These are the two largest hot spots on the map at present. Central Connecticut State University has the third highest number of cases among Connecticut schools with a total of 30 confirmed COVID cases.  CCSU is shown in the choropleth map as the purple region near New Britain. 

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy (near New London, bottom right), has a total of nine confirmed cases while Sacred Heart University  (near Bridgeport, bottom left) has just six total cases.  Trinity has had two total confirmed cases (but only one on-campus) as of Friday, Sept. 4, while Connecticut College, University of Hartford, and Wesleyan University each have just one confirmed COVID case. These four schools are not depicted in the choropleth map due to the relatively low number of cases.

In terms of Trinity’s total testing capabilities and results, the College has reported that 4,310 COVID PCR tests have been completed between Aug. 17 and Sept. 4, with  only two positive tests – a promising sign. Additionally, there  have been a total of 46 invalid tests.  The total test outcomes are shown in the figure below. As of Sept. 4 Trinity has a positive PCR test rate of just 0.02%, however the rate will likely increase as more data is made available.

3 Comments

  1. The University of Connecticut numbers include about 90 doctors, nurses and other front-line workers who treated patients at UConn John Dempsey Hospital during the height of the pandemic in spring, and since then. That’s a very different population than students, and face very different levels of exposure. For the accurate student numbers, check reopen.uconn.edu/covid-dashboard/

  2. It looks like there are some inaccuracies in the NYT data. The 126 number for Yale appears to be cumulative for the calendar year so far. As of today, Yale is reporting 16 cases since August 1.

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