More than 700 Cardiff University students have tested positive for coronavirus

More than 700 Cardiff University students and three staff have reported testing positive for coronavirus with the NHS since the start of October and more than 2,000 are currently self isolating.

Separately, the university’s in-house asymptomatic test service has identified a further 292 cases among staff and students.

The university, which has 30,000 students and 7,000 staff, said overall data is based on them informing the university that they have received a positive NHS test result. It is not Public Health Wales data.

The figures cover Cardiff University students living in the city and staff who are working on campus.

The single daily total for positive tests was 61 on October 20 and 2,043 students were self isolating on that date. Of those self isolating 165 reported doing so because they had symptoms.

Students self isolating at Talybont South halls of residence at Cardiff University display messages in their window
Students self isolating at Talybont South halls of residence at Cardiff University display messages in their window

The number of new cases among Cardiff University students reported each day to October 20:

Monday 5 October 2020: 6

Tuesday 6 October 2020: 8

Wednesday 7 October 2020: 19

Thursday 8 October 2020: 29

Friday 9 October 2020: 12

Saturday 10 October 2020: 9

Sunday 11 October 2020: 24

Monday 12 October 2020: 49

Tuesday 13 October 2020: 55

Wednesday 14 October 2020: 73

Thursday 15 October 2020: 42

Friday 16 October 2020: 44

Saturday 17 October 2020: 42

Sunday 18 October 2020: 164

Monday 19 October 2020: 93

Tuesday 20 October 2020: 61

Total – 730

In the same period three staff reported testing positive on October 5, 16 and 19.

Students carry a food delivery box from Morrisons into Taylbont South halls of residence
Students carry a food delivery box from Morrisons into Taylbont South halls of residence

Cardiff University also runs its own asymptomatic screening service on campus.

All students and staff who are asymptomatic can take a saliva test shortly after arriving on campus. Anyone with symptoms, or who receives a positive or inconclusive test result through the in-house screening service is advised to self-isolate, inform the university they are doing so, and asked to arrange an NHS test.

Since October 5 3,051 students and staff have taken the  in-house asymptomatic screening test.

Of these 292 of those without symptoms tested positive for coronavirus and 44 tests were “inconclusive”.

The university was among the first to announce last summer that anyone coming on campus would be asked to wear masks in communal areas this term.

It says on its website says: “We know how important it is to be vigilant about the number of coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in Cardiff.

“We have introduced a number of extra safety measures to help minimise the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community.

“Essential to this strategy is our decision to offer a programme of ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19)screening to all students and staff who are asymptomatic (showing no signs or symptoms of the virus).”

As of October 18 data from Public Health Wales, published on Cardiff Council’s website, shows there were 266.6 cases per 100,000 people in the city, compared with 128.2 per 100,000 per population in all of Wales.

Cardiff University said it wants to be transparent about cases and to support students:

A spokesman said: A Cardiff University spokesperson said: “In the interests of openness and transparency, we took the decision to proactively publish the number of coronavirus (Covid-19) cases on our website.

“The increase in cases is, in part, a result of the proactive measures we are taking to help our students access tests – both NHS Covid-19 tests and through our own in-house asymptomatic screening service, which is open to students who are not currently showing symptoms of coronavirus.

“Students will be invited to use this service every four weeks, and can choose to attend an appointment at College House, Hadyn Ellis Building or Talybont Social Centre.

“The NHS Mobile Testing Unit set up in Talybont recently tested a large number of students. It was also made available to all students in Cardiff who have coronavirus (Covid-19) symptoms.

“We have also been closely involved in the establishment of a Local Testing Unit on Museum Avenue. This helps students overcome some of the logistical challenges they’ve experienced when trying to access an NHS test.  

“We are also extremely grateful to our students for telling us if they are self-isolating or if they’ve received a positive test by updating us on SIMS. This is key to making sure we can offer support, and that they can continue their learning.

“Whilst we are aware of examples where students have not observed the rules, the increase in numbers illustrate that vast majority of our students are, and when they have symptoms they are self-isolating and getting themselves tested. We are extremely grateful to our students for doing so. 

“Our message is clear: anyone with Covid-19 symptoms needs to self-isolate and tell their household to do the same, book an NHS test and ensure they advise the University via SIMS online.

“We do appreciate this is an extremely challenging time for our students. Information and advice is being constantly updated on our student intranet and students can contact Student Connect if they need further advice or support.”

WalesOnline – Cardiff