Faculty News

Pop-up testing quickly identifies more than 220 negative results following COVID-19 cluster concerns

This was something we have not done before, and we really wanted to bring the testing to the students.

On the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic since diagnosing the first case on the University of Michigan central campus in March 2020, University Health Service (UHS), in collaboration with campus partners, began implementing an array of demonstrated public health and safety measures, in addition to launching new tactics to quickly address the first identified cluster of COVID-19 cases in on-campus housing late last week.

One such intervention, in consultation with the Washtenaw County Health Department, was to rapidly create a “pop-up” site to test all students residing on two specific floors of the South Quad residence hall that had been identified as the primary location of the cluster.  These additional students were tested out of an abundance of caution; none of them were identified as close contacts and none were experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Within just 36 hours, approximately 220 students were tested by UHS, who also partnered with the U-M School of Public Health and U-M Housing.

As of Monday, the 220 test results received so far have all come back negative.

“This was something we have not done before, and we really wanted to bring the testing to the students rather than have them leave the dorm to come to the UHS or our satellite location,” said Lindsey Mortenson, acting executive director of UHS.

Mortenson emphasizes how grateful UHS is to the students involved in this testing program for quickly responding and scheduling their tests.

“Aside from the incredible effort of the volunteers, the team who put together the testing site and the lab staff who ran the tests quickly, one of the most impressive things about this process was that the students themselves were incredibly responsive. So I just want to say thank you to the students for their dedication to keeping themselves and others safe this semester,” she said.

Efforts to follow up with students still awaiting test results are underway, as well as continuous proactive testing and additional health and safety strategies to maintain a culture of care throughout the U-M community. 

Learn more in this episode of Michigan Minds.

Download the transcript

View the COVID-19 Dashboard 


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