AMES, Iowa – Through Aug. 6, a total of 3,037 Iowa State University students moving into the residence halls and campus apartments have completed COVID-19 testing at Lied Recreation Center. Of that number 66 students, or 2.2%, tested positive, and 2,971 students, or 97.8%, tested negative.
Kristen Obbink, Iowa State’s COVID-19 public health coordinator, says the test results are a snapshot in time that helps provide a baseline as students return to campus. The move-in testing is just one part of the university’s overall mitigation plan. Obbink says the combination of testing and contact tracing makes it possible to quickly identify and isolate students who test positive to reduce the risk of spread across campus.
Iowa State’s public health team is conducting contact tracing and providing support for students who test positive. The department of residence has isolation rooms for positive cases and quarantine rooms for those who are notified of exposure through contact tracing. Obbink says about half of the students testing positive chose to return home to complete isolation.
The College of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is processing the COVID-19 tests and providing results within 24 hours. Obbink says the VDL is authorized by the state and testing is conducted in accordance with clinical laboratory standards and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
“The Veterinary Diagnostic Lab enabled us to greatly reduce turnaround time for results, which means we can achieve early intervention and mitigation with positive cases,” Obbink said.
Move-in testing at Lied Recreation will continue Aug. 10-16. An update on test results will be available Friday, Aug. 14. Test results are reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health, but there may be a delay before the results are reflected in IDPH’s daily reports.
Testing for fall semester
Thielen Student Health Center is providing testing for students, faculty and staff with symptoms of COVID-19, and the public health team is conducting contact tracing and case management. More information and resources are available on the Fall 2020 website on the personal health page.
Testing for those who are symptomatic, along with daily symptom tracking to encourage students, faculty and staff to say home if they are sick, will help reduce the spread of infection. Obbink says the university continues to evaluate other testing strategies for the fall semester and may modify the approach based on advances in testing technology and availability of testing supplies.