You're listening to Utah Public Radio, I'm Kerry Bringhurst. As of Thursday, there are 324 students, staff or faculty members at Utah State University campuses or centers across Utah who have reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the last three weeks. This is a decrease from the 350 reported last Thursday. These active cases include 303 students living either on or off campus.
Joining me for our weekly conversation is Noelle Cockett, Utah State University President. President Cockett, thank you so much for joining us once again for our weekly conversation about what is happening regarding COVID-19 on USU campuses.
President Noelle Cockett: We're in week five and going strong. I'd like to just talk a little bit about next week when we'll have wider available testing on campus for staff and employees. That'll be here on our Logan campus.
We have a testing site in the parking lot between the Maverick Stadium on the west and Aggie Village on the east that students, those with active A numbers, can self-schedule for an appointment to get a sample taken. And then the rapid PCR tests completed on that sample. And then the test results would be returned to the individual within 48 hours. We think that people just want a little bit more peace of mind.
KB: Do they need to have symptoms before they can be tested?
NC: No, we really are opening this to everyone that would just like to double check.
For those that are symptomatic, we will conduct two different tests. One test, the result will be returned very quickly. But that particular test is not quite as good and reliable for negatives. So that rapid test will need to be confirmed by the next day with the second test.
KB: And just to verify if somebody would like to participate in the new testing, the expansion that's going to be happening, do they make that reservation online?
NC: Yes, that's right. We'll have that more widely available, the information about it. But starting early next week, people can click on Aggieshealth.usu.edu. And it walks the person through the steps to schedule an appointment for that sampling.
KB: Can you tell me how the university goes about funding this type of testing? Is this something the federal government is helping with or how does that work?
NC: Right. We received an allocation early summer from the federal government called the COVID CARE funding. And that's exactly what we're using.
We also have been supported through the state department of health. And then we also have been very supported by the Bear River Health Department here locally in returning results that they get through their testing sites.
As you know, we have two other residential campuses, one in Price, Utah and one in Blanding, Utah. It turns out that their local health departments actually have testing ability there that can return test results quicker than if we were to collect samples and ship them up to Logan and do the testing here.
KB: President Cockett we're out of time for this week's update on what is happening regarding COVID-19 on the USU campuses statewide. And we look forward to speaking with you again next week.
NC: Oh, thank you, Kerry. I really appreciate this opportunity to give our updates to our listeners on how we're doing it at Utah State.
KB: It's our pleasure.