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MSU sets aside funds for free saliva-based COVID-19 test on campus

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 5:06 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Missouri State University has set aside more than $800,000 for COVID-19 testing. A portion of it is being used for free saliva-based tests for students and university employees.

The university tells KY3 $115,000 were set aside this year for surveillance testing, ideally giving the university a look at how the coronavirus could be spreading asymptomatically on campus.

MSU rolled out the new saliva-based testing on campus last week.

“[The purpose is] to make sure we’re monitoring the population that isn’t experiencing symptoms to make sure that we’re not missing something here on campus," said Andrew Englert, the associate director of university safety.

Englert said the free testing opportunity gives people some peace-of-mind.

“To students that may be going to visit relatives, faculty and staff and students that are concerned about their own well-being, and wondering if ‘hey this scratchy throat, this runny nose, do I have COVID?’ or 'I want to make sure I’m taking care of the community," he said.

The whole process takes about 10 minutes. You spit into the tube, shake it, label it and wait for your results.

”We ship them out via FedEx tonight to a lab up in Kansas City, they will process them and typically the next day you get the results, if it’s not the next day it is the day following," Englert said.

Notifications are made via text message. So far, Englert said all tests have come back negative. If someone does test positive, the university has a plan.

“We do see the results of all of these tests and we would be following our protocol to reach out to them and make sure they’re isolating themselves, and getting to a safe location where we’re making sure that they are taken care of," Englert said. “Also, identifying any close contacts that they have so we can limit the spread here on campus.”

Englert said the test is designed for people who are not showing symptoms.

”If they’re symptomatic and experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms, we certainly would encourage them to go to their health care provider or here at Missouri State the Magers Health and Wellness Center to make sure they’re getting the appropriate care," he said.

The university plans to have about 120 tests available each week until Thanksgiving. Englert said last week they had tests left over. He encourages any students or university employees who are interested to take advantage of this opportunity.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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