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Fredonia State reports only 1 new COVID case in first week of testing

Fredonia State
Fredonia State has begun testing up to 400 students a week for the coronavirus.

Fredonia State is ramping up its COVID-19 testing in the wake of major problems on the campus.

The college has eight active cases right now, but it has had 91 recoveries, so the virus is a highly visible issue. It also has seen at least 75 associated cases in a nearby Dunkirk ice cream factory.

Fredonia State has a system that chooses students to be tested and there are penalties if a student doesn't show up. The college can test up to 400 students a week.

Fredonia has an advantage because of technology developed at SUNY's Upstate Medical School in Syracuse, which allows rapid testing and data turnaround for the SUNY schools. That means they don't become caught in a bogged-down national testing system.

Credit Fredonia State
Fredonia State's COVID-19 Dashboard, as of 2 p.m. Monday, as posted on the college website.

Fredonia College Marketing and Communications Director Jeff Woodard said the first week went well.

"We completed our first large-scale surveillance testing last Friday in Steele Hall on campus," he said. "We tested 337 students in that sample and we got the results back from SUNY Upstate Medical on Sunday. We had one positive case out of that pool."

That was from 337 students.

"The outbreak at a local employer there and rapid testing came in as the semester was starting and we had some cases pop up then, and we also had suspension of students who were violating our guidelines," Woodward said, "and I think the combination of suspensions and the rapid testing kind of gave everybody a wake up call and a reality check."

This week, at least that many will be tested and the randomly designating system will work its way through the current 4,000 students. Woodard said the 10%-a-week approach may be increased during the fall.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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