People receiving COVID-19 tests through the Campus Health Center can now expect faster results.
The CHC has partnered with two clinical laboratories to make this possible, said Chief Nursing Officer Dr. Toni Grant. Quest Diagnostics and World Wide Labz are conducting COVID-19 tests for WSU students, faculty, staff and any other WSU community member, free of charge.
While only working with QD, results took three to five days to be received, Grant said.
WWL, which is a smaller, local lab, produces results within 48 hours due to the use of advanced polymerase chain reaction machines and the close proximity of their lab – located about 10 minutes away from WSU’s campus, said WWL data manager Michelle Clemmon. Being local allows for more efficient, speedier results.
“We can get them (WWL test results) back into our system indefinitely in 48 hours, as opposed to Quest labs… when the (Quest) tests leave our clinic, they actually travel to Ohio,” Grant said.
The CHC has also moved its COVID-19 testing services to new locations and expanded its testing to include weekend hours in December, according to their website. Testing is taking place at the Mort Harris Recreation and Fitness Center Monday through Thursday and Anthony Wayne Drive Apartments Friday through Sunday for those who are symptom free.
WSU community members can schedule an appointment online and walk-in testing is also available, according to the CHC.
“Students, faculty and staff experiencing symptoms or who have a known exposure to COVID-19 may schedule an appointment online for testing on Fridays at Anthony Wayne Drive Apartments,” the CHC said on its website. “This testing will take place outside the building or in your vehicle.”
In addition to taking advantage of the new locations and hours, health professional students/faculty, athletics and housing residents can still make an appointment at the most convenient location for them: at University Towers, Towers Residential Suites, Scott Hall – Margherio, Doris J. & Donald L. Duchene, Sr. Athletic Facility or the College of Nursing Applebaum, according to the CHC.
Prior to service changes, Grant said at a Student Senate meeting on Nov. 19 the CHC was receiving a record number of in-person visits and phone calls. During their peak business hours, the CHC received about 900 phone calls and 500 voicemail messages regarding COVID-19 testing. CHC is on track to see 10,000 patients in the last three months of the year, typically the number seen in an entire year.
“On a good day, when we're not competing with the rest of the country, those individuals who have downloaded the [QD] app were able to see their results even before we were able to see those results,” Grant said. “It was working until all the numbers across the country started rising again, so that's why we added another lab.”
Housing announced mandatory weekly testing on Oct. 15 for campus residents due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. Pre-civil engineering student and University Towers resident Carla Jewell said housing has changed those rules to mandatory biweekly testing. This change was announced to residents on Nov. 6, said Nikki Dunham, director of Residence Life.
“At first, it was once a week and then they just changed the new rules to every other week,” Jewell said. “They notify us if we haven't gotten tested. They will say like, ‘You need to get tested this week,’ because if not then we'll be in trouble.”
Jewell received her COVID-19 test results within three business days, she said.
CHC will contact and discuss results with individuals who test positive for COVID-19, according to their website. Test results will also be available on the CHC Patient Portal.
As long as individuals have their patient portals set up, they will be able to view their results just like any other test done through CHC, Grant said. Half of COVID-19 testing appointments are randomly scheduled with QD and the other half is with WWL.
“We're still open and we're still testing,” Grant said. “Just trying to make things more convenient for everyone, which is the reason why we are actually out on the campus.”
For more information on COVID-19 testing at WSU, visit the Campus Health Center’s website.
Nour Rahal is news editor at The South End. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover photo of COVID-19 testing supplies at Mort Harris Recreation and Fitness Center by Nour Rahal.