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Kent State Announces Partnership With CVS Health For COVID-19 Testing On Campus

Various bottlenecks that had constrained widespread testing for the coronavirus in the U.S. in February still persist today. [Novikov Aleksey / Shutterstock]
Laboratory assistant wearing protection gloves holds vial with positive coronavirus test

With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rising on its Kent campus, Kent State University is taking steps to increase the availability of testing for anyone who might want it.

The university’s partnership with CVS Health will allow the school to provide free testing to all students, faculty and staff starting next Monday. CVS will randomly test 450 individuals each week. Testing will also be available for anyone else at the school’s DeWeese Health Center or any CVS Minute Clinic conducting COVID-19 tests.

Interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Manfred van Dulmen says the additional testing could very well affect the number of cases being reported.

“I anticipate in the next weeks that the dashboard will look different than what it looks now, particularly after we’ve had one or two weeks of random testing on campus,” he said.

Currently, the university’s coronavirus dashboard, updated weekly on Tuesdays, shows new cases, as well as information about students quarantined in dorms. However, because of concerns about individual health information, not all of Kent’s campuses are reporting cases.

van Dulmen says this process will be especially important to discern spread on campus. Four quarantine orders have been issued for students living in dorms, whic affect a total of 101 students.

“It only takes two cases for like a wing or area to be quarantined. It doesn’t mean by default that there is widespread positive tests," he said. "It only takes a few cases, but we think that it’s important to have these preventative measures in place so that sparks do not become flames.”

The university gave those already in quarantine the opportunity to get tested last Friday by the Ohio National Guard’s Pandemic Testing Team. Those results are not yet available.

The team will be back in Kent Oct. 18 to provide more testing. The location and time have not yet been announced.

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