#Forward Together: What you need to know about testing

Illustration of lab worker at microscope

Testing for COVID-19 is an important strategy in detecting and slowing spread of the coronavirus,  and the UO’s Monitoring and Assessment Program has been instrumental in providing quick and easy testing for the entire community.

“Even with high rates of vaccination, testing is still a vital and important tool,” said Brian Fox, executive director of the program. “A positive test early in the course of the illness enables individuals to isolate themselves, reducing the chances that they will infect others and allowing them to seek treatment if necessary. And we have the capacity to handle 4,000 tests a week, which can serve the needs of both the campus community and the region.”

Weekly COVID-19 testing is now required for the anticipated small percentage of unvaccinated students and employees who choose an exemption. The weekly requirement takes effect Monday, Sept. 27, the first day of classes. Students with an exemption who are required to test will be notified by email.

COVID-19 testing is also encouraged for vaccinated individuals, including students living off campus in group living or apartment settings, faculty members and employees whose work requires them to be on campus, and members of underserved communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Free COVID-19 testing is scheduled for all UO employees, students and the Eugene/Springfield community at Matthew Knight Arena and at the Ford Alumni Center. The Monitoring and Assessment Program now uses a saliva test, which is less invasive than a nasal swab and allows for a greater number of tests.

Eugene-based students also can get a COVID-19 test at various locations around the city. Portland students can get testing at the Portland State University Center for Student Health and Counseling. Faculty members, staff, and students at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Charleston should contact their local health care provider.

Individuals who develop COVID-19 symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 should contact their health care provider for information on testing.

Students can also contact University Health Services at 541-346-2770.

Who is required to be tested?

Weekly COVID-19 testing is required for unvaccinated students and employees who choose an exemption. The weekly requirement takes effect Monday, Sept. 27, the first day of classes. Students with an exemption who are required to test will be notified by email.

Portland students can get testing at the Portland State University Center for Student Health and Counseling. Faculty, staff, and students at Oregon Institute of Marine Biology should contact their local health care provider.

What happens when a student, staff member, or faculty member tests positive for COVID-19?

Students and employees who have tested positive or think they have been exposed to COVID-19 are encouraged to review the COVID-19 exposure scenarios and guidance for students and employees and complete the case and contact form for additional guidance and resources.

The UO’s COVID-19 case management team has protocols for isolation, cleaning, accommodation and notification for students.

Team members from University Health Services and the Office of Human Resources work closely with local public health authorities on case management and specific recommendations based on the unique needs of every case. For student cases, the UO team may assist Lane County Public Health with contact tracing.

How does the university provide information about positive COVID-19 cases at the UO?

The UO reports all new positive and presumptive positive COVID-19 cases for people identified by a public health agency as being affiliated with the university, such as students or employees in a workplace cluster. We also report any positive cases of UO employees and students tested through the UO Monitoring and Assessment Program.

Anyone who tested positive or may have been exposed to COVID-19 should complete the case and contact form for specific guidance.

How does contact tracing work?

When an individual within the UO community tests positive for COVID-19, the local public health agencies take the lead in contacting the individual who tested positive and the individuals with whom they have been in contact.

Officials with county public health agencies — Lane County Public Health for Eugene, Health Multnomah County for Portland, and Coos County Health Department for Charleston — provide guidance directly to those individuals.

Will I be informed if I have been in close contact with a positive case while on the UO campus?

Yes. The university notifies all potential close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases who are living or working on the UO campus.

This notification comes within 24 hours of the UO case management team learning about the confirmed positive case. This is in addition to the formal contact tracing conducted by local public health departments for each known positive case reported in the county.

Why should asymptomatic people get tested?

Many people are asymptomatic carriers of the virus. If you are asymptomatic, meaning you are not experiencing any symptoms of illness, you can prevent further spread of the virus to your family, friends and others in the community by identifying the virus, isolating and cooperating with contact tracers. Also, participating in testing helps the UO develop strategies that local officials and university leaders can enact to suppress the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

How will I receive test results?

Test results are made available through a secure result portal. During registration, each patient will be asked to provide an email address and phone number. Once results are available, an email and text will be sent with login information for the portal. This information will allow the patient to access results for the patient's most recent test. Additional information available on the how to get your results page.

Are my test results and information kept private?

Yes. All personal data collected for testing is protected in compliance with HIPAA regulations and will not be shared without your consent.

How can I find out more about COVID-19 testing at the UO?

See the complete list of testing and contact tracing FAQs, or visit the MAP testing web pages.

For more about plans for the new school year, see the main #ForwardTogether page.