COVID-19 Test Update, Sept. 26-Oct. 2

Testing site for COVID-19

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing program received results from 14,554 tests administered to students, faculty and staff from September 26 – October 2, 2020. In total, there were 20 positive results – ten undergraduate students, five graduate/professional students and five faculty/staff. The positivity rate for this period was 0.137%.



In this period:

  • 12,657 surveillance tests were administered to asymptomatic students with ten positive results, all undergraduates.  The individuals who tested positive, live in different locations and have different courses of study.
  • 121 tests were administered to students who reported symptoms or were identified through contact tracing with five positive results, all of whom were graduate/professional students. All students who tested positive are now in isolation. Three students who had previously tested positive were cleared to return to campus.
  • 214 gateway/baseline tests were administered to students starting programs at Duke with no positive results.
  • Tests administered to student-athletes are included in the surveillance category.
  • 1,562 tests were administered to faculty/staff; 1,422 surveillance tests yielded one positive result, and 140 tests to symptomatic or contact traced individuals had four positive results. All of those individuals are isolating at home. Information from contact tracing indicates that transmission took place in the community and not at the workplace for all five individuals.  Four staff/faculty members who had been in isolation were cleared to return to normal activities.



  • Duke has administered 72,470 tests to students, faculty, and staff since August 2 and has recorded 95 positive results; 70 of those individuals have been cleared to return to normal activity.
  • This week, a total of 14,079 tests were administered through the surveillance program.



Student testing results from this period:

  • 12,992 tests were administered to students
  • Fifteen students tested positive, ten of whom were asymptomatic; all fifteen are in isolation and being monitored by Duke Student Health and continuing their coursework remotely
  • Of the 15 students who tested positive, 11 live off campus and four live on campus
  • Surveillance testing included students living on- and off-campus
  • Duke has more than 300 individual beds for residential students who need to be moved to a secure and supportive isolation facility


Students cleared to return to activities during this period:

  • 3 students who previously tested positive were cleared to return to campus after being in isolation
  • 53 students who had been in precautionary quarantine due to contact tracing were released


Contact tracing and precautionary quarantine for students during this period:

  • 121 students were placed in precautionary quarantine because they were found to have been potentially exposed to an individual who tested positive; these students are being monitored by Duke Student Health and continuing their coursework remotely.  The majority of students in quarantine and isolation reside off-campus.
  • Students who live in Duke-provided housing will be quarantined in campus facilities. Students who live off-campus must quarantine in their residence. 


Faculty & staff testing results from this period:

  • 1,562 tests were administered to faculty and staff, including 1,422 through the surveillance program and 140 to individuals who reported symptoms.
  • Five faculty/staff members received positive test results; four of whom reported having symptoms and one who was asymptomatic. All are in isolation at home.
  • Four faculty/staff members who had previously tested positive were cleared to return to normal activities.
  • Nine faculty/staff members were asked to quarantine as a result of contact tracing and thirteen employees were released from precautionary quarantine and cleared to return to work.


Tests administered in this period:

  1. Surveillance testing for asymptomatic students, faculty, and staff
  2. Clinical testing for individuals who report symptoms or who are identified through contact tracing
  3. Gateway/Baseline testing, which is an individual test required for all students upon arrival to campus and before they can move into Duke housing or take classes on campus

More information on Duke’s COVID-19 testing program can be found at Results are updated every Monday.