Partnering with the Ohio Pandemic Testing Team, the university offered students free coronavirus testing at the Center for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement on Friday.
The testing team on campus was made up of the Ohio National Guard’s medical unit. The testing program has been in development since the start of the semester, according to Associate Professor of Epidemiology Melissa Zullo.
“They do most of the work. We did the coordination, we were able to get the building reserved and do some of the set up,” Zullo said. “But the medical core comes in, they set up all of their space and they do everything. We just do the registration.”
About 800 students were invited to receive a test. All students who live in quarantined dorms were selected while the rest were randomly selected. Zullo said the invitation to get tested was not mandatory, but still insisted that students should get one.
“We’re seeing outbreaks in the dorms and we’re seeing a decrease in the age of people who are being infected, so an increase in infection within that younger age group,” Zullo said. “It is concerning for any college campus that has students living in dorms.”
Last week, Gov. Mike DeWine announced a recommendation that all residential colleges and universities conduct random COVID-19 testing. Zullo said the Ohio Pandemic Team has been sent to other universities in Ohio already but could not recall the schools.
With the line of students stretching out to the sidewalk along S. Lincoln Street, each person was asked whether or not they had symptoms along with their temperature being taken before entering the building. Inside, PCR tests were conducted in which health workers collected fluids from a nasal swab. Zullo said students can expect their results by Monday.
Moving forward, the university and the city of Kent will make testing a point of emphasis.
“We do have other testing programs that are starting in the next couple weeks that students, staff and faculty can access,” Zullo said. “The National Guard is planning to come back to Kent, not to the Kent campus. We’re going to have them come to different areas in the city of Kent and that testing will be widely available for both the community and students.”
Chris Ramos is a reporter. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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