COVID-19 remains a global threat in the face of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants and gaps in vaccine administration and availability. In this study, we analyze a data-driven COVID-19 testing program implemented at a mid-sized university, which utilized two simple, diverse, and easily interpretable machine learning models to predict which students were at elevated risk and should be tested. The program produced a positivity rate of 0.53% (95% CI 0.34–0.77%) from 20,862 tests, with 1.49% (95% CI 1.15–1.89%) of students testing positive within five days of the initial test—a significant increase from the general surveillance baseline, which produced a positivity rate of 0.37% (95% CI 0.28–0.47%) with 0.67% (95% CI 0.55–0.81%) testing positive within five days. Close contacts who were predicted by the data-driven models were tested much more quickly on average (0.94 days from reported exposure; 95% CI 0.78–1.11) than those who were manually contact traced (1.92 days; 95% CI 1.81–2.02). We further discuss how other universities, business, and organizations could adopt similar strategies to help quickly identify positive cases and reduce community transmission.
Fuente: npj Digital Medicine
Published: 11 February 2022