AMES, Iowa – The final days of move-in testing at Lied Recreation Center wrapped up on Sunday. For the two weeks of COVID-19 testing, 8,094 students living in the residence halls and campus apartments were tested and 175, or 2.2%, tested positive, and 7,919, or 97.8%, tested negative.
“Our goal with the move-in testing was to identify positive cases and quickly intervene to mitigate the spread of infection,” said Erin Baldwin, director of Thielen Student Health Center (TSHC). “This effort wouldn’t have been possible without many campus partners, including the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, which rapidly analyzed a high volume of testing samples.”
Students who tested positive are required to isolate for 10 days. About half of the students are isolating in isolation rooms provided by the department of residence. Quarantine rooms are also available for students notified through contact tracing that they were exposed to a positive case. Baldwin says students still moving into the residence halls after Aug. 16 will complete the required testing at TSHC’s mobile lab.
Iowa State will continue to provide weekly updates on testing throughout the fall semester. Now that move-in testing is complete, TSHC will provide testing for students, faculty and staff with symptoms of COVID-19. Additional surveillance testing may be used in targeted areas throughout the fall.
“We continue to evaluate other testing strategies for the fall semester and may modify the approach based on advances in testing technology,” said Kristen Obbink, Iowa State’s COVID-19 public health coordinator. “ISU’s public health team will provide contact tracing and case management throughout the fall semester to help reduce the spread of infection.”
Testing is one of several metrics university leaders will utilize to monitor and analyze campus conditions throughout the semester. Obbink says the goal is to pinpoint areas to intervene and prevent the spread of COVID-19.