COVID-19 dashboard clarification

Cayson Frerichs, NEWS3 Reporter

MACOMB, IL (NEWS3)- With many numbers associated with the Coronavirus, it can be difficult to understand what they all mean.

Western Illinois University has its own Coronavirus dashboard, where the university keeps track of its numbers differently from the McDonough County Health Department. Joe Roselieb, Western Illinois University’s Executive Director of Auxiliary Services and Risk Management, said the university’s count is only based on tests administered through the university and not tests on WIU students taken elsewhere.

 “It’s a reflection of positive cases that are turned in and administered by the university,” Roselieb said.

WIU’s dashboard shows the total numbers of positive, negative, active and recovered COVID-19 cases for students, faculty and staff tested by the university. The MCHD dashboard shows the total numbers of positive, active and recovered COVID-19 cases from WIU’s dashboard and the rest of McDonough County, as well as those that resulted in deaths. This means that WIU students testing positive for COVID-19 who were not tested by the university only show up on the MCHD dashboard.

Roselieb said WIU does not take in the positive case data from the MCHD because they would only receive the number of positive cases, not negative ones.

“If we only received the positives but no negatives, it would skew the representation of that,” Roselieb said.

All cases in the county are reported to the health department from all the test sites in the area. The MCHD dashboard also shows total case breakdowns by gender, age and county communities, treating WIU as separate from Macomb. Stefanie Johnson, Deputy Public Information Officer for the MCHD, said results from residents who get tested outside of McDonough County are still reported to the health department.

“If we have a resident who goes to a hospital outside of McDonough County and gets a test there, that result still does come to us,” Johnson said.

Because of these differences in data collection, the WIU dashboard reports 189 and counting total positive cases on campus, while the MCHD dashboard reports 318 cases and counting on campus. Roselieb said people can continue to look at the university dashboard, but the health department’s dashboard paints a more complete picture.

“As we look at our campus, continue to look at that dashboard, but holistically, look at the county dashboard,” Roselieb said.

Surveillance testing will continue on the Macomb campus until Nov. 20. Anyone who is not selected for surveillance testing but still wants to take a test is asked to call the Beu Health Center at 309-298-1888 to schedule an appointment.