UTMC to Manage University’s COVID-19 Surveillance Testing

October 9, 2020 | COVID-19, News, UToday
By Tyrel Linkhorn

The University of Toledo is partnering with The University of Toledo Medical Center to bring its COVID-19 surveillance testing program in-house to allow for faster results, more flexibility in scheduling and an easier registration process for students, faculty and staff.

Beginning next week, UTMC will oversee both the collection of COVID-19 tests on Main Campus and processing of the results in its laboratory. The testing site also will move from the Glass Bowl to the Savage Arena second-floor concourse to provide a more comfortable testing environment as colder temperatures approach.

Participation among those studying, working and living on campus continues to be voluntary, but is highly encouraged.

“UTMC had the first laboratory in northwest Ohio capable of testing for COVID-19. As a community-focused hospital, our initial priority needed to be testing our symptomatic patients. Now that our access to testing supplies has improved, we’re proud to expand our testing capabilities to asymptomatic individuals in the University community to provide this vital service to help keep our campus safe and healthy,” UTMC CEO Rick Swaine said.

Healthcare professionals from UTMC will collect test samples and process them in the hospital’s lab. Results will be available in as little as 48 hours.

UToledo began a voluntary COVID-19 surveillance testing program the first week of fall semester as part of its comprehensive plan to promote a safe campus environment.

Each week, a representative sample of faculty, staff and students is selected for testing and notified through their UToledo email account. Those who elect to participate will be prompted to register and schedule an appointment through a dedicated website.

Testing will be expanded to four days each week. Testing will be conducted Monday through Thursday, with both morning and afternoon appointments available throughout the week for increased flexibility.

Healthcare professionals from UTMC will use a throat swab to collect a sample — similar to a rapid strep test — that will then be processed in the hospital’s lab. Results will be available in as little as 48 hours. Previously, samples were sent to an out-of-state laboratory, which took several days to provide results.

While COVID-19 is a serious illness for many, studies have shown that other individuals who contract the virus have no symptoms at all — even though they can spread the disease to others.

By testing faculty, staff and students who aren’t showing any COVID-19 symptoms, the University can better gauge the prevalence of the virus within our campus community and help reduce its spread.

During the first seven weeks of the semester, only 1.2% of those tested through the University’s COVID-19 surveillance program have tested positive.

As required by law, the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department will be notified of any positive test results. Individuals who test positive will receive important information about best practices for managing an infection and available University resources.

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