SUNY reaches important milestone by surpassing two million COVID-19 tests

As the spring semester winds down, SUNY colleges reached an important milestone in the battle against COVID-19. 

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced on April 19 that SUNY campuses have eclipsed two million COVID-19 tests for students, faculty and staff on campus since the beginning of the 2020 fall semester. 

The positivity rate of those COVID tests since the start of the 2020-21 academic year to date has been .45 percent. On a seven-day rolling average, the rate is at .23 percent. These numbers can be found on the SUNY COVID-19 Tracker dashboard along with other information regarding testing. 

“In our fight against the potential spread of COVID-19 across our campuses, we have two major advantages—our students and their endurance to continue keeping each other safe, and our excellence in research that has brought forth the number one saliva test in the world,” said Malatras. “SUNY has kept its doors open thanks to both, and as we reflect on what has been a very different college experience—with much learned—we look forward to rebuilding life on campus for the fall.”

SUNY has used a saliva-based method, developed by Upstate Medical University and Dr. Frank Middleton, to conduct its COVID-19 tests. The majority of the campuses send the results to Upstate Medical and Quadrant for analysis. The laboratories are located at a Syracuse location and a new laboratory that was set up at the University of Buffalo earlier this year. 

Of the two million COVID-19 tests that have been administered at SUNY campuses, 1.4 million of those have been processed at Upstate Medical University.

“From COVID testing to treatment and patient care to vaccines, Upstate’s work has been exemplary as we’ve all been driven toward one common goal—defeating this virus,” said Dr. Frank Middleton.

SUNY has also been working with the state to get more COVID-19 vaccinations for its state-run vaccination sites located on 36 SUNY campuses. 

However earlier this month, there were concerns over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which prompted a pause for administering that vaccine on SUNY campuses. As of April 13, SUNY is working with the state to find alternative COVID-19 vaccines during the pause.