The University is providing free COVID-19 testing to students and employees, in collaboration with the NJ Department of Health, Monmouth County Regional Health Commission No. 1 and the Monmouth County Health Department.
On Tuesday, Oct. 27, the testing location moved from a tent outside the Health Center to the OceanFirst Bank Center Lobby, said Kathy Maloney, Director of Health Services, in an email. Testing is available Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary.
“Health Services has moved to a model where we are doing 90 percent COVID testing and 10 percent other medical services due to testing demand and careful screening for other services,” Maloney wrote. Approximately 100-125 people are tested daily.
She continued, “We have bolstered our staff through use of per diems and utilizing other university-trained personnel for testing. In addition, we have received support from other areas of campus to assist with organizing and communicating lab results to students.”
Testing is conducted using a PCR nasal swab which is sent to an NJ State lab in Trenton for analysis, with the result turn-around within the 24-72 hour range. Students and employees tested are contacted via email once test results are obtained, and all are encouraged to be tested.
University priority testing is for those who are symptomatic or who have had direct contact with a COVID-positive person, Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, wrote. “We now have a limited supply of rapid tests which will be reserved for symptomatic cases only. All rapid tests will be further confirmed with a PCR nasal swab,” Nagy said.
She continued, “Upon return from fall break, we will restart the surveillance testing program. Each week there will be random testing of at least 14 percent of residential students in addition to 25 percent of both the on and off-campus athletic population. We will also be reaching out to different off-campus groups for voluntary participation in the community COVID-19 testing effort.”
Those who test positive and have mild to moderate, or even asymptomatic disease, must isolate for 10 days during the infectious period, Nagy wrote. The Response and Contact Tracing Teams are notified once a COVID-positive person is entered into the University database. “On-campus students will be expeditiously moved into isolation housing unless they choose to go home,” Nagy wrote.
If a student no longer has symptoms, they may be released from isolation as long as 10 days have passed from either the first day of symptoms or date of test. “Students should not be required to produce a negative COVID test prior to returning to the classroom or clinical setting,” Nagy said. “Both [the Center For Disease Control and NJ Department of Health] do not endorse retesting after testing positive because recovered people can continue to shed viral COVID RNA for up to 8-12 weeks even though they are no longer contagious.”
Students will receive an email from Health Services upon the completion of their isolation, releasing them. The student may resume normal activities, including return to the classroom and clinical work, if applicable.
IMAGE COURTESY of Monmouth University