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UW-Eau Claire antigen testing expands to some off-campus students

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 5:52 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - UW-Eau Claire is now offering antigen testing for COVID-19 to some off-campus students.

Additional testing machines have allowed the university to offer some off-campus students the option to get a free antigen test.

Jodi Thesing-Ritter, who is overseeing the expanded testing, says they want to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus not only on campus but in the community.

“Especially those who are engaged in internships, practicums and student-teaching that require that they be in direct contact with lots of people throughout the day,” Thesing-Ritter says.

The McPhee physical education center testing site can now test up to 600 students a day, versus the 350 students it could process before the expansion.

“We have received additional machines from the UW System to allow us to serve more students. The UW System is providing the tests and the testing materials as well as the testing machines,” Thesing-Ritter says.

Five rapid testing machines yield results within 30 minutes.

Students who test positive for antigens will receive a call within 30 minutes and from there will have to get a more accurate COVID-19 testing done at the student health center.

Andrea Lemaster, head Registered Nurse on-site, says there’s no reason for students to fear an antigen test.

“It’s the nose swab, it’s not the nasopharyngeal, a lot of student’s come in here absolutely terrified because they think we’re going to stick it all the way up and take brain matter, and we are not,” Lemaster says.

If students do not receive a call from Lemaster or another nurse, they can assume the results came back negative.

Students living in campus housing are required to get tested every two weeks.

“Based on the success we’ve had in our residence halls…this allows the opportunity to expand our reach. We’re running special sessions for student-teachers at 4:30, each day, Monday through Friday,” Thesing-Ritter adds.

Antigen testing is for asymptomatic students only.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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