UB has conducted fewer COVID tests than other SUNY university centers

University has administered 4,305 tests to date, trailing similarly sized schools


UB has the largest student population in the SUNY system, but has conducted fewer tests than other similarly sized schools, according to the SUNY COVID Case Tracker.

The university has administered 4,305 tests to date, which trails Binghamton (11,262 total tests), Stony Brook (7,283 tests) and UAlbany (6,958 tests) among SUNY university centers.

UB began random surveillance testing in early September after members of the university community roundly criticized its “adamant refusal to add baseline and surveillance testing” to its reopening plan.

In a UBNow article, Charlotte Hsu wrote that “cases discovered through the surveillance testing program represent only a small percentage of the total COVID-19 cases identified at UB” — the remainder come from private testing.

UB partnered with Upstate Medical Center for random surveillance testing. Students are asked to take a cotton swab and place it in their mouth for 15 seconds. The saliva sample is then combined with 11 other samples, and sent for testing.

On Sept. 29, SUNY issued protocols seeking to “strengthen penalties for reckless behavior and non-compliance.” Local students who fail to attend at least two scheduled surveillance appointments without a valid excuse could be placed under “interim suspension” or have their card access “electronically deactivate[d],” according to the guidance.

UB has conducted 1,794 PCR tests and 2,511 pool/batch tests. The PCR test, which is also known as a polymerase chain reaction test, looks for pieces of the SARS-CoV-2 virus — the antigen — rather than for antibodies.

The university currently has 93 total on-campus cases, which includes 61 students living on-campus, 28 students living off-campus but taking classes on-campus and four employees working on-campus. There are currently 39 students in on-campus isolation or quarantine.

Only 46 of the 93 active on-campus cases count towards the NYS threshold for a campus shutdown.

Justin Weiss is the senior features editor and can be reached at justin.weiss@ubspectrum.com 


Justin Weiss is the senior features editor for The Spectrum. In his free time, he can be found hiking, playing baseball or doing both at the same time. His words have appeared in Elite Sports New York and the Long Island Herald.