Tuesday, January 18, 2022

COVID-19 Tracker wins award

By Mia Morgillo

Ever since COVID-19 infiltrated campus, the SUNY COVID-19 Case Tracker has been used by thousands of students, faculty and staff within the SUNY system. This system has gained national attention, recognized by Government Technology Magazine as the “Best Application Serving the Public.” Through a team of analysts, programmers, web designers and IT experts in SUNY’s Office of Innovation and Technology, 64 SUNY campuses have been able to use the application to monitor cases and make safety decisions.

While this fall semester has seen the lowest number of positive COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the outbreak, there are still precautions the school is taking to keep everyone safe. Throughout the pandemic, there have been many moments of uncertainty. From new variants to sudden outbreaks, COVID-19 can be destructive in unexpected ways.

Dr. Kathleen Camelo, the director of the Student Health Center, said that “institutions can utilize that data to see what’s going on at other campuses.” This is especially helpful so that different universities could reach out and learn from one another in times of success or crisis. Her team at the Health Center has been responsible for submitting the data that would eventually make its way into the tracker system. 

Michael Caraballo, the Emergency Management Director at SUNY Plattsburgh, has been very hands-on during times of crisis here at campus. 

“Around August [of 2020], we learned that SUNY was coming up with the dashboard so we can all see how COVID is affecting each campus,” Caraballo said. 

Since then, he has been responsible for the input of SUNY Plattsburgh’s data for the Case Tracker website.

Beyond tracking cases on a daily basis, the Case Tracker displayed information on different types of tests administered, daily and weekly test data, available quarantine and isolation space, and hospitalizations. 

In a SUNY press release, Chancellor Jim Malatras said, “When reopening our campuses last fall, real-time information was an essential part of SUNY’s best defense so that we could see emerging cases and take steps to keep our communities safe. Thanks to our award-winning COVID-19 Case Tracker — and the incredible efforts of our students, faculty, and staff — SUNY campuses were and remain among the safest places to be.” 

University Police Chief Patrick Rascoe has been working in conjunction with Camelo and Caraballo to look at the data the Case Tracker provides, and form policy here on campus. 

Together, the three of them were able to use the tracker to “provide a sense of climate on campus as well as what was going on in the rest of the state in order to make informed decisions to keep the campus safe,” Rascoe said. 

Together, Rascoe, Camelo, and Caraballo handled the COVID tracker data and analyzed it into policy.

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