University of Utah students opt-in for rapid COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Rapid COVID-19 test kits are available to all University of Utah students. And thousands are checking to see if they’re positive or negative.

It’s been one week since the U began its rapid COVID-19 testing and U officials said more than 4,000 students have opted-in to be tested, and thousands more have their test date and time scheduled.

“A month ago, it was right about one percent, it’s moved up slightly here at the University of Utah campus, we’re at 1.91 right now,” said Cameron Wright, the campus COVID-19 testing program manager, of the campus’ positivity rate.

Rapid testing is now available or in the works at all of Utah’s universities and colleges, following Governor Gary Herbert’s call to action for all students to be tested for the coronavirus.

Students at the U continue to be tested and some told ABC4 News it’s a simple process.

“It wasn’t very difficult,” said U student Jaycie Fickle. “Just had to swab my own nose and put it in a tube – they do two tests and they were both pretty fast and easy.”

“It couldn’t have been easier, honestly,” said student Ruli Velarde.

“Testing was very easy,” said another U student Briana Sisofo. “[It felt like] a little bit of a twinge and pain. It’s really not all that painful it’s just a little bit like a weird twinge.”

And these students said they appreciate the opportunity to know whether or not they’re a carrier of the virus.

“So, I got the school-wide email that they want all university students to be tested and I just wanted to do my part and get tested because I don’t want to be carrying it and giving it to people,” Fickle said.  

“It’s so nice that we have this opportunity for free testing, rapid testing,” Sisofo said.

“I mean, just pure safety. Just wanted to check to see if we had it,” Velarde said. “I mean, there’s so many of us who are asymptomatic, and we just thought we would [get tested] if we could.”

Wright said tests take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to process based on the number of people being tested at the time. Students can then view their results through an app on their phone.

If a student tests positive, Wright said they are asked to retest a second time to confirm their result.

Vice President of Student Affairs, Lori McDonald hopes to remind students that testing is not a replacement for mask wearing, social distancing, and good hygiene.

“A test is really a snapshot in time to determine if you’re carrying an active virus,” she said. “So often we’re finding that people might be carrying it without any symptoms at all.”

In an effort to limit the spread of the virus, the Governor’s order requires that beginning in January, all higher education students will test weekly for COVID-19.

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