Health Code and Testing Data

Colby College is committed to transparent communication regarding our Covid-19 testing efforts and their effect on campus health and safety. This webpage is updated daily and provides an overview of these efforts, including the number of tests administered as well as confirmed positive and negative cases broken out by student, faculty, and staff. In accordance with guidance from the Maine CDC, Colby has developed a robust contact-tracing program, and any individuals known to be in contact with a Colby community member who tests positive for Covid-19 will be notified alongside recommendations to prevent further infection and spread.

Colby has established a three-tiered, color-coded system that helps inform campus decision-making and operations this fall. The color system is determined by several factors, including close monitoring of local, regional, and national Covid-19 trends and the number of Covid-19 cases on campus. The code level is based on a holistic review of these factors, along with Colby’s vaccination rate of roughly 98%, and not one individual factor. The Health Code designation may fluctuate over the course of the semester as circumstances warrant. Each color designation will inform a range of guidelines that will direct campus operations (including academics, housing, and dining). In general, green means normal campus operating procedures. The yellow code level is designed to both increase awareness on campus of health conditions and to adjust operating procedures from a menu of predetermined options (e.g., reduced occupancy limits in dining halls and social spaces, enhanced cleaning, or testing of vaccinated individuals) in order to reduce the risk to campus health. Students, faculty, and staff should pay attention to the Health Code designation and cooperate with mitigations steps, as appropriate, required by the guidelines. Flexibility and adaptation will be key as we navigate the evolving challenges presented by Covid-19 during the fall semester.

Health Code Level:


Alert Level
Confirmed New Weekly Positive Cases
Symptom Surveillance
Compliance with Mitigation Efforts
Few identified or contained cases
Seasonal Norm
Very High
Limited number of cases
10% above seasonal norm
Significant outbreak
30% above, daily increases

Alert levels may be applied to residence halls or other identified cohorts.

Covid-19 Community Transmission

The following website illustrates the counties with “substantial” or “high” levels of Covid-19 community transmission.

Fall Semester 2020 Summary

This past fall semester, Colby’s Covid-19 testing protocol resulted in more than 90,000 negative tests for its community of approximately 3,000 students, faculty, and staff. Thirty-four positive cases were identified during this period, which included 15 students and 19 faculty/staff. Out of these tests, 1.3 percent of the tests were inconclusive, and all positive cases have recovered.

Spring Semester 2021 Summary

This past spring semester, Colby’s Covid-19 testing protocol resulted in more than 161,998 negative tests for its community of approximately 3,000 students, faculty, and staff. Out of the 129 positive cases identified during this period, 1.3 percent of them were inconclusive, and all positive cases have recovered.

Summer 2021 Summary and Daily Report

This past summer, Colby’s Covid-19 testing protocol resulted in approximately 2,020 negative tests. Approximately 90 people regularly participated in the program. Unvaccinated individuals were required to test and vaccinated individuals could voluntarily participate. There were no positive cases.

The following dashboard was reset on August 16, 2021, to track Covid-19 cases and daily testing on the Colby College campus for the fall semester.

*The map of active cases by county was removed from the dashboard on April 7, 2021. As of March 31, 2021, Maine CDC no longer provides recovery figures as part of its daily public data. As we relied on this number to calculate active cases in each county, we are no longer able to update the map.

This dashboard is updated at 4 p.m. ET once per day based on the data received by the Broad Institute at that time. In some cases, previous day’s data will be updated based on when data from the Broad are received. The dashboard data reflect the Broad Institute’s updated detection protocol. 

Colby’s testing data reflects two key aspects of our robust testing program: the number of tests the College conducts and the frequency of those tests. Since Colby tests the entire community of approximately 3,000 faculty, staff, and students two times a week, it is expected that there will be more positive test results than there would be if the College’s testing program were less intensive.

The number of positive and negative cases may not add to the total case number due to inconclusive test results or positive cases being tested multiple times. 

An inconclusive test result indicates the test sample was not able to be properly performed. An inconclusive test result does not indicate a test is presumptive positive, positive, or negative. Individuals who receive an inconclusive test result are retested within 24 hours of receiving the result. The inconclusive result was produced for one or many of the reasons below.

  • The specimen failed to produce a valid result as no nucleic acids (viral or human) were detected by qRT-PCR.
  • The test could not be performed due to laboratory error.
  • The sample was unsuitable for automated processing. The first step in processing is to add media to the swab. After adding media, some samples are too viscous to process. This most often happens when the patient does not blow their nose before collecting the sample, resulting in excessive mucus.
  • The swab collection was not to submission standards. This may have occurred because the swab was upside down in the tube, there were multiple swabs in the tube, or there was no swab in the tube.

To protect the privacy of members of our community and comply with health privacy laws, no additional information will be provided about individuals’ identities.