Given that we have already had positive cases of COVID-19 in our campus community this semester, SUNY Upstate Medical University will assist the college in expanding student and employee testing. Beginning tomorrow, we will test for COVID-19 through an innovative method called pool testing that allows several people to be tested at once.
Here's how it works: First, 10 to 25 individuals collect a saliva sample by swabbing their mouths for 10-15 seconds. Then, the saliva from their swabs is combined — or pooled — into a single sample, which is tested for COVID-19. Pool testing results are typically available in 24 to 48 hours. A negative test means that everyone whose saliva is in the pool is presumed to be coronavirus-free at the time of testing. A positive test means at least one person whose saliva is in the pool is infected. Follow-up tests of every person in a group whose pooled sample tested positive would be used to determine who is infected.
Pool testing will be mandatory for all students who:
- live on campus;
- have in-person classes; or
- use any campus facilities.
Testing is recommended, but not mandatory, for employees who are on campus. More details will follow on where and when to be tested. Although test results capture only a snapshot in time, pool testing will give us a more complete picture of the virus in our population and hopefully help contain it.
This is a crucial time for SUNY Oneonta. If each of us commits to the actions for safety, we can safeguard the health and well-being of our entire campus community. Thank you for doing your part.