UToledo Launches COVID-19 Surveillance Testing for Fall Semester

August 17, 2020 | COVID-19, News, UToday
By Tyrel Linkhorn

As part of its comprehensive plan to promote a safe environment for the return of on-campus classes and activities for fall semester, The University of Toledo will begin voluntary COVID-19 surveillance testing this week.

UToledo expects to conduct as many as 2,000 surveillance tests of faculty, staff and students during the first four weeks of fall semester.

The testing, done initially in partnership with the Utah-based company Azova, will provide the University with baseline information about the extent of the virus in our community as we begin the semester and provide a valuable tool for reducing the spread of the virus. Additional surveillance testing will continue throughout fall semester.

“As we have all seen during the last several months, COVID-19 is a serious disease for many. Studies also have shown that a number of people who contract the virus experience no symptoms at all,” UToledo Interim President Gregory Postel said. “Because we know those individuals can still spread the disease, testing asymptomatic individuals can play a role in reducing the spread of COVID.”

A representative sample of approximately 500 faculty, staff and students will be randomly selected for testing each of the next four weeks and notified through their UToledo email account. Individuals will be able to set an appointment for the saliva-based testing at a specified outdoor, on-campus site.

Participation among those studying, working and living on campus, while not required, is highly encouraged.

Only those who are selected for asymptomatic testing will be able to receive a test. The University also is working to make available a limited number of tests to faculty and staff who are not part of the random sample group. Testing is available for employees and students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 through The University of Toledo Medical Center at both Main Campus and Health Science Campus.

Individuals who are tested during the next four weeks will receive their results through Azova’s secure web platform. Results are expected to be available within 48 hours after samples arrive at their laboratory. As required by law, the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department will be notified of any positive test results. The University will receive data on how many tests are positive, but will not receive reports about specific individuals’ results.

Additionally, the University is developing a public COVID-19 dashboard to share information regarding positive cases connected to the University.

“We want to be well-informed and transparent about the extent of COVID-19 within our community as we make decisions to protect the health and safety of everyone on our campus,” Postel said. “We’ve implemented a number of protocols, including our Rocket Prevention Principles, to address the challenges this virus presents. These additional tools are an important complement to our existing plans.”

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