U of A increases COVID-19 testing efforts to encourage more students to know their status

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Due to the current health crisis, along with flu season and cold weather, the University of Arkansas is increasing its efforts to get students tested for COVID-19 on campus.

Zac Brown with the Pat Walker Health Center said by looking at the number of COVID-19 cases in the county and within the University community, he is concerned that students are not getting tested like they should.

Brown said the university has a convenient and seamless system in place for students and staff to get tested for COVID-19. There’s a rapid test for those with symptoms that give you results within 15 to 20 minutes.

Then there is the PCR test for those who don’t have any symptoms but may have been exposed to the virus or have concerns, those results take about 24- 48 hours to come back.

Brown said there’ been a significant drop in the number of people getting tested and said students really need to weigh the cost of not getting tested.

“Is a couple of days of quarantine worth not making your grandmother or your young brother or sister sick and so we hope that people are going to be forthcoming and really want to come and get tested,” said Brown.

With Halloween just a few days away, and the holiday season around the corner, college students will come together to celebrate. This also raises concerns of a COVID 19 outbreak.

Staff wants to prevent sick students from spreading the virus to their family and friends, but another concern is students potentially returning to campus with illnesses.

They continue to encourage social distancing, wearing masks, and good hand hygiene. Staff said testing done in a timely matter is a major key in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

It also gives them a better indication of the rate of transmission within the campus community.

“We really do hope that students will not only realize that we have a very convenient testing capability within the health center but take that personal responsibility to protect their friends and family this holiday season.”

Brown said you can call and make an appointment, speak to a medical professional and they will walk you through the process.

He reminds students that taking the test will only give you peace of mind, whether you test positive or negative, staff will let you know if you need to quarantine or isolate, for how long, and any other instructions you need.

Just a reminder if you get tested off campus, and the results come back positive you must self-report the case to U of A and they have an online portal for you to do so.

Brown said medical staff is using this satellite clinic to also treat other respiratory illnesses students could be experiencing.

Brown said anything they can do to make testing more available and to encourage its students they want to do so. Those efforts will only increase as we get closer to the holiday season.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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