Controlling COVID on campus: Husky Testing

Infectious Disease Doctor, Dr. Ana Weil, speaks about the process behind Husky testing for students, staff and faculty.

The Ledger had the privilege of speaking with Infectious Disease Doctor, Dr. Ana Weil. Her experience in this field has led her to tackle COVID-19 at the university level.

“There’s new tasks that need to be done with COVID that I’m taking on,” she said. “This is a new position that I’m adding to my usual workload, working in running the University testing.”

As UW Tacoma transitions into the spring quarter, COVID testing has become available for all UWT students, staff and faculty. 

“There’s nothing you need to do to prepare. Be engaged with daily check-ins and sometimes community testing. If people get a text message about testing, we just ask that they get a kit right away,” she said. 

The process of testing takes place with self-administered kits that are provided when requested and made available through contactless means. 

“For UW Tacoma, if you get a testing notification, sign up to receive a kit in the mail. [Then] follow the instructions in the kit on how to do your own swab, put it into a tub and leave it outside your door for the courier to pick up in a couple hours,” she said.

The expected wait time for these swab results varies but Weil speaks confidently about the process of such testing taking place.

“Expect to wait two to three days, but they usually come back in one day. We think that testing at home is convenient and we’ve had success with it in other studies too,” she said. “It’s provided by the University of Washington, free of charge.”

According to Weil, there are three specific reasons one should use the testing services available for them. 

“In the daily check in, if they report any symptoms of having a fever or a cold. We also test someone if they know someone who has COVID. And we also test people if they have been in a group with more than ten people,” she said. 

Dr. Weil highly recommends that even if someone doesn’t meet these three reasons, they should still get tested for COVID. 

“We test people in the community just to be aware. No matter if they have symptoms or not, just as a way to look at symptoms that are unknown,” Weil said. “It’s important to participate in the testing, even if you feel well.”

Aside from student, staff and faculty safety, Weil also reassured the safety of those helping with the process of COVID testing.

“A sample itself is unlikely to transfer a disease in the lab,” Weil said “The lab wears PPE, but infection is extremely low. When you come to testing sites, you do your own swab. And the person at the kiosk supervises you. The staff have full PPE and Flexi shields.”

With these reassurances in mind, Weil spoke further about the challenges she and others have had to face in regard to COVID-19. 

“All of us in the field of infectious diseases have taken on additional work. Some people are doing more work on testing trials or taking care of patients,” she said “We have all taken on responsibilities to help.”

As students, staff and faculty at UW Tacoma, it is encouraged to take part in testing and do our part in preventing the spread on campus, especially as a future on campus nears.

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