Lehigh Surveillance Testing for Students
Surveillance testing is performed on students without symptoms or other indications of possible COVID infection. The expected rate of positivity for asymptomatic testing is ~1%. Read more about our Surveillance Testing program. Lehigh Athletics conducts surveillance testing that aligns with the guidelines set forth by the NCAA for sports engaged in intercollegiate competition. These results are included in the dashboard. Post-Thanksgiving and before the start of the spring semester, when most students are finishing the semester remotely, there will be a reduced level of surveillance testing for students in the Bethlehem area.
Lehigh and Diagnostic Testing for Students
During the semester, the University is conducting testing of any Lehigh student with COVID-related symptoms who contacts the Health and Wellness Center (HWC) and students who are identified as close contacts, as per the CDC. The point-of-care testing in the HWC can often produce results in less than an hour, reducing the amount of time that the student and their close contacts need to spend in quarantine or isolation. Most other testing services in the region are currently taking at least three days to return results.
Diagnostics tests are administered for students considered to have a higher likelihood of having the virus (due to symptoms or contacts). Typically, positivity rates for these tests will be higher than the rate in our surveillance tests. In Pennsylvania, the positivity rate for diagnostic testing is just under 5% as of August 25. Please note this data is from Pennsylvania, only; the rates may vary and COVID-19 case prevalence may be higher or lower in other states and regions from which our community is coming.
Additional Reported Information
Students living in the Bethlehem area or coming onto campus are required to report any positive test to the University; all other students are strongly encouraged to report positive test results. A portion of the additional tests reported to us are from testing conducted through Lehigh University's partnership with the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN).
In addition to identifying students through Lehigh's testing and through tests performed by the LVHN, we also receive information about students who obtain tests through their health care provider, local health bureaus, and other outside providers and entities. Students living in the Bethlehem area or coming onto campus who receive a positive COVID-19 test result, even if they are not tested by the Health and Wellness Center, must report this to the Health and Wellness Center to ensure proper contact tracing and to support the health and wellness of the campus and South Bethlehem community.
Lehigh Students in Isolation and Quarantine
All students who test positive for COVID-19, including those living off campus, must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days (note the difference between quarantine and isolation) and until cleared by the HWC. The data below show a weekly snapshot of the number of students in isolation and quarantine at the time the dashboard was updated.
Students living on campus are relocated to on-campus isolation housing and provided with meals for the duration of the isolation period. Students living off campus are required to self-isolate in their off-campus residence. In limited cases, the HWC may arrange for a student living off campus to isolate in on-campus housing. All students who test positive are contacted by the Bethlehem Health Bureau, who manages contact tracing and notification and follows up with the student, along with the HWC, through recovery.
Faculty and Staff Tests
Symptomatic faculty and staff are directed to be tested and contact the university’s Employee Health Nurse Case Manager from Lehigh Valley Health Network, Terri Latvis, RN, at 610-861-8080 ext. 21237 or Teresa.Latvis@lvhn.org. Read more on the COVID-19 Return to Campus Employee Health Guide. Faculty, staff and contract employees may also be selected for surveillance testing.
All faculty and staff cases are followed up on by our LVHN Occupational Health partner and, when applicable, depending on the employee’s residence, the Bethlehem Health Bureau. For contract employees, positive cases are reported through the established liaison system so appropriate contact tracing and notification can occur. These cases are also reported on the dashboard.
Process for Positive Cases
When a positive student case is reported, our Health and Wellness Center works in conjunction with the Bethlehem Health Bureau to ensure appropriate isolation of the student and to initiate contact tracing, notification and direct communication with those who may have been in close contact with individuals who tested positive for COVID-19. A close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who was within six feet of an infected individual for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
All student COVID-19 cases are followed up on by the Health & Wellness Center and Bethlehem Health Bureau. All employee cases are followed up on by our LVHN Occupational Health partner and, when applicable, depending on the employee’s residence, the Bethlehem Health Bureau.
If, during or after this process, the University believes that a campus alert is required, the University will issue the alert to the appropriate segment or segments of campus. Examples warranting such an alert may include, but are not limited to:
- the need for partial or full building closure;
- the need for students, faculty or staff to stay away from a specified area; or
- evidence of widespread transmission on campus.
In making such alerts (or in reporting the aggregate number of cases on this dashboard), we will not publish names or other identifying information and will respect the rights of our students, faculty, staff, and community members under the privacy laws and the public health laws.