Utah State University has expanded COVID-19 testing for employees and students on the Logan campus. For several weeks, the university has offered rapid tests at the Student Health and Wellness Center to students who had COVID-19 symptoms. Now testing will be available to employees, as well as to those without symptoms who think they may have been exposed.
“Making testing easily accessible on campus will be a huge boost to our case containment efforts,” said USU President Noelle Cockett. “We’ll be able to increase the number who are getting tested, get results quickly, and isolate and quarantine appropriate individuals. All of these things are critical in stopping the chain of transmission.”
President Cockett explained that any current student, faculty, or staff will be able to get tested at the Logan campus site and receive results quickly.
USU’s COVID-19 testing site and lab will process 180 tests per day, with results available within 24 to 48 hours. Positive test results will be automatically sent to the USU case containment team so that students and employees are contacted quickly with instructions for their isolation or quarantine. Testing is free to both students and employees and is funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
“Providing testing will help us better monitor for COVID-19 in the campus community, and, combined with wastewater monitoring, can help us identify potential clusters of cases,” said Ellis Bruch, USU’s emergency management director.
The new testing site is located on the east side of Maverik Stadium, just west of Aggie Village. USU debuted a new webpage, www.usu.edu/covid-19/testing, this week to explain how to access a COVID-19 test. Students and employees who have symptoms will fill out the COVID-19 Questionnaire. These individuals will be pre-approved for a rapid test, as well as the COVID-19 PCR test that verifies the result of the rapid test. The rapid test will allow the university to quickly identify those who are positive in most cases. However, even if the rapid PCR test is negative, all symptomatic individuals should continue to stay home until they are well and their COVID-19 PCR test confirms the negative result.
Students and employees who do not have symptoms will schedule their test by logging into Aggie Health. Individuals who have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 should wait five to seven days after their last contact before being tested in order to improve accuracy. As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who have been asked to quarantine for 14 days will still be required to, even if they receive a negative test result due to the possibility that they could still develop symptoms.
USU’s COVID-19 diagnostic testing is provided through a collaborative effort by the USU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, the Department of Nursing, and Student Health Services. All test results are reported to the Utah Department of Health, which then provides case numbers to local health departments across Utah.