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UC San Diego launches COVID-19 testing of students

Posted at 11:04 AM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 14:07:03-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- UC San Diego Monday began COVID-19 testing for its students living on the La Jolla-area campus.

The school’s Return to Learn program includes self-administered, nasal swab-based coronavirus tests for more than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students living on campus.

According to school officials, the program requires students to enroll for participation. Once a student is enrolled, they will visit a designated site on campus to pick up their test and collection container. The participant will scan the barcode on the container, linking it with their information. The participant will swab the inside of their own nose and drop the swap in the container. They then leave the container to be picked up by program workers. Swabs are then tested on-campus for COVID-19.

Bria Quayles-Harris works at the school's Student Health Center, where the test are being given. She said she’s hopeful this is a step in the right direction.

"I think it’s going to be a slow transition in this process; we can’t do everything at once," she told 10News.

Any participant who tests positive for the illness will be notified and advised to seek medical care. The program's contact tracing team will also try to identify and notify persons with whom the infected person may have had close contact in previous days -- an effort known as exposure notification. In accordance with federal and state regulations, San Diego County public health will be notified about positive cases.

Students experiencing symptoms should call Student Health Services at 858-534-3300. If not a student, but a UC San Diego Health patient, call the dedicated COVID-19 nurse line between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 800-926-8273.

If the program is successfully implemented, the school may move to monthly testing for the its 65,000 students, staff and faculty – all in hopes of being prepared for in-person classes in September.

The team behind Return to Learn will also look for signs of coronavirus in residential wastewater and surface collections, school officials said.