SUNY Broome welcomed the new SUNY Chancellor, Jim Malatras, to campus on September 16, 2020. Chancellor Malatras was greeted by Dr. Drumm, the Administration and campus faculty and staff. After visiting the COVID-19 surveillance testing location on campus, the Chancellor met with the group outside of the Wales Center to discuss the pooled testing process and campus operations.
“SUNY Broome was honored to host our new Chancellor in a review of campus operations within the context of our COVID environment. We thank Chancellor Malatras for making the trip to visit us and also for listening to how SUNY can help us going forward. We look forward to working with him on advancing both SUNY Broome’s and SUNY’S interests” said SUNY Broome President, Dr. Kevin Drumm.
Chancellor Malatras visited Binghamton University and Broome County leaders after concluding his meeting on campus. He praised both campuses for the precautionary measures and processes taken during the pandemic.
“The expansion of pooled surveillance testing for staff at Binghamton University and SUNY Broome adds yet another critical layer to both schools’ aggressive COVID-19 mitigation and response plans,” said Chancellor Malatras. “Regular pooled surveillance testing will allow both schools to better pinpoint the presence of the virus and isolate it before it can spread. With very few COVID-19 cases to date, Binghamton University and SUNY Broome exemplify what strong planning and implementation can accomplish. Their success so far provides both evidence and optimism that if we all work together we can keep students learning on our campuses. I want to thank Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger and SUNY Broome President Kevin Drumm for their work with testing and enforcement, as well as every student who rose to the challenge during this unprecedented time. We must continue to be vigilant in our efforts to contain the virus, but if we keep up the good work, we will.”
Robust testing—along with enhanced safety guideline enforcement and transparent, real-time data via SUNY’s system-wide case tracker—comprise SUNY’s three-pronged approach to containing the virus.
Binghamton University and SUNY Broome are able to ramp up testing following a series of major breakthroughs in testing driven by SUNY Upstate Medical University.
Last month, the New York State Department of Health granted SUNY approval to conduct pooled surveillance testing for COVID-19. The testing methodology—developed by Upstate Medical—allows for 10-25 people to be screened as part of one test. Their samples are combined into one, which is tested for SARS-CoV-2 virus. A negative test means that all 10-25 people in the group are presumed at the time to be coronavirus-free. A positive test for the pool would mean each individual saliva sample within the pool would need to be tested again individually to pinpoint exact positive cases.
Earlier this month, the Department of Health approved Upstate Medical’s individual saliva diagnostic test. The cost-effective and rapid screening can analyze more than 15,000 samples per day at Upstate Medical’s Neuroscience Research Building, in collaboration with Quadrant Biosciences—a Start-Up NY company supported by the state with key tax incentives.
The University at Albany is also administering an in-house pooled surveillance testing program developed collaboratively by a team of scientists from UAlbany’s RNA Institute and School of Public Health.
Thanks to these advancements, SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities have the capacity to pool test more than 120,000 students per week.