The University of Guelph and the provincial government will launch a rapid COVID-19 testing pilot program to provide regular testing to people required to be on campus as well as mobile testing clinics for students in residence following Reading Week.
With tests provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health, the pilot will enable the University to set up two rapid mobile testing clinics on Feb. 26 and 27. The University has encouraged students returning from Reading Week to participate.
“It’s vital that we take all the necessary precautions to keep each other and our community safe,” said U of G president Dr. Charlotte Yates.
The rapid antigen test provides results in about 15 minutes.
If a student receives a positive test result, they will undergo the standard laboratory PCR test for confirmation. They will also be given instructions on how to isolate, and any high-risk contacts will be notified. Public Health will also be notified, and proper protocols will be followed for any laboratory-confirmed positive cases.
Participation in the provincial pilot also enables the University to run an eight-week COVID-19 rapid testing screening program for faculty, staff and students required to be on campus. Under this program, begun in early February, participants undergo the rapid antigen test twice a week.
This additional screening tool does not replace any of the current precautionary measures already in place on campus. It is intended to identify people who may be asymptomatic and who may be missed by regular screening protocols.
As with the student testing program, participants who receive a positive result will undergo the standard laboratory PCR test for confirmation. Public Health will be notified, and proper protocols will be followed for any laboratory-confirmed positive case.
The province has provided the University with 4,000 tests for the COVID-19 rapid testing screening program and the rapid testing mobile clinics to be administered by Student Health Services staff.
“By participating in this provincial pilot, the University of Guelph is taking the lead in accessing an important tool that will help us develop a robust COVID-19 screening program,” said Yates. “Our participation will also help in understanding how rapid antigen testing could be deployed more broadly to support provincial COVID-19 response activities.”