Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Public Health Contact Tracing: Over 88% of UW Students with COVID-19 Report Illness

September 16, 2020
Ariana Vruwink, 608-267-8823
County Executive

The vast majority of UW Madison students who have tested positive for Covid-19 are reporting symptoms associated with the virus. That's according to preliminary contact tracing findings of Public Health Madison & Dane County. 88.3% of students who are positive reported varying degrees of sickness.

"There are a lot of theories about what Covid-19 is and isn't, but the science and data from these cases on the UW-Madison campus shows most people who get it, get sick," said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. "As the father of a UW senior, I understand the worry parents and their students alike face right now. The time to effectuate change is now - before the virus infects more students and staff. We did virtual learning on campus last spring and we can do it again because human health and well-being should always come first," Parisi said.

Data from Public Health Madison & Dane County shows as of Tuesday, September 14th:

  • 2,160 UW Madison students have tested positive for Covid-19. The vast majority of them are undergraduate students who moved to Madison at the start of the fall semester. Based on those who have been tested, at least 7% of the 31,185 undergrads on campus are positive for Covid-19.
  • Five of the ten Wisconsin counties with the highest rates of case are home to a college campus.
  • Public Health Madison & Dane County and University Health Services attempted 3,991 contact tracing interviews between July 28th and September 14th. 3,590 of them (90%) resulted in an interview with a Public Health official. Contact was unable to be made in 10% of all positive cases.

"Timely Public Health contact tracing bolsters our ability to quickly identify and isolate illness. It's incredibly helpful not only for yourself, but also those you care about, work with, and even take care of to have an honest conversation with a contact tracer. Not doing so just prolongs the misery of this pandemic for all of us," Parisi concluded.