City reports 15 percent positivity rate from Temple COVID-19 tests

The city helped Temple conduct 396 tests for COVID-19 at the Aramark STAR Complex Monday. Of those, 60 came back positive.

Cases of COVID-19 at Temple University rise after more students were tested at the Aramark STAR Complex on Aug. 31. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University reported 212 COVID-19 cases among students on Wednesday, an 85 case increase from yesterday when Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley called the university’s rising cases an ‘outbreak.’

“We are very worried about the ongoing outbreak on Temple’s campus,” wrote James Garrow, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, in an email to The Temple News. “We are working with Temple University every day to increase testing and get folks who need it into quarantine or isolation.”

The department helped Temple test 396 people for COVID-19 on Monday at the Aramark Student Training and Recreation Complex, Garrow wrote. Sixty of the tests, approximately 15 percent, were positive, which is indicative of an ongoing outbreak, he added. 

Philadelphia has not reported a 15 percent test positivity rate since mid-May, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported

“Like the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Temple takes these results very seriously, and will continue to work with the city on reducing the number of active cases,” wrote Ray Betzner, a spokesperson for the university, in an email to The Temple News. 

Contact tracing showed that many Temple students who were exposed to the virus live in apartments off campus, potentially with three or more roommates, Farley said on Tuesday.

As of Wednesday, only one active case was reported of a student off campus.

Temple defines on campus cases as students or employees who were in a Temple facility while they were infectious, according to the university’s active case dashboard. It defines off campus cases as those who live near one of the university’s campuses but are not known to have been in a facility while infectious.

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