Here’s a novel idea: Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland is offering free COVID-19 testing to students and staff through November 19. The testing will be available on all CCC campuses thanks to a partnership with Care Alliance, a local clinic operator. Care Alliance provides primary health care to indigent and low-income residents of the Cleveland area.
Rapid, easily accessible, low-cost or free COVID-19 testing is an important part of disease detection and surveillance in the community. Especially for higher education institutions that hold in-person classes. Many students either don’t have health care or don’t have access to COVID-19 testing. If students (and staff) on campus have easy access to testing, the institution is better equipped to stop the spread of the disease by asymptomatic and low-symptomatic carriers. Additionally, it may lessen or eliminate the need to close the campus to interrupt widespread transmission.
The rationale for on-site testing is solid. The University of Michigan opened its dorms on Monday, and on Tuesday, it sent home two students infected with COVID-19. To date, UM has fared better than CMU, which is dealing with a 126-case coronavirus outbreak. Additionally, CMU is following another eight cases, which – if confirmed – would raise the case count to 134. CMU identified the initial outbreak on August 18. Alma College has also identified a four-case cluster of COVID-19 on its campus. Eastern Michigan University has delayed move-in by three weeks, and Michigan State University abandoned its plans to have in-person classes this fall.
WCC has already had at least one case of COVID-19 on campus. As students return to campus in larger numbers, COVID-19 is unlikely to stay away. On-site COVID-19 testing provides the best opportunity to control its impact on on-campus operations.
Photo Credit: stnorbert , via Flickr