UO expands free COVID-19 testing amid Omicron surge

Two people at a COVID testing center

The University of Oregon’s COVID-19 Monitoring and Assessment Program, known as MAP, will begin to offer limited free testing to individuals with mild viral symptoms. The move, starting Jan. 10, is designed to alleviate at least some of the burden area testing sites are experiencing amidst the Omicron surge.

Individuals should use this new service only if they have mild symptoms, resembling a common cold, and if they feel they do not need a medical evaluation, said Brian Fox, MAP’s executive director. Those with severe symptoms should contact their health care provider, as a COVID-19 test is not a substitute for medical care.

COVID-19 testing signs at Mac Court“The need for additional testing options in our community at this time is clear,” Fox said. “Throughout the pandemic, our program’s mission has been to expand access to free, highly accurate PCR testing to both UO students and employees and other Lane County residents. This expansion is another step towards that goal.”

MAP launched in the spring of 2020 as a tool to help identify and suppress the community spread of COVID-19, and the public health program has administered more than 160,000 free COVID tests to UO students and staff, as well as Lane County community members and K-12 students during the pandemic. To this point, the tests have been for individuals not showing symptoms of the illness.

People with mild symptoms can get tested at the ticket booths on the west side of McArthur Court, off University Street, between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, on days when MAP is operational.

No appointment is required, but supply is limited. Individuals with symptoms should not enter McArthur Court itself, as the nearby indoor testing is the existing program for asymptomatic individuals only.

People who are asymptomatic should continue to use the online registration process and set an appointment time. Walk-ins are permitted, but may have longer wait times, as registered participants have priority.

Participants in MAP testing should anticipate a wait time of around one hour. All tests are saliva tests and results will be provided within 2 to 4 business days, often within 24 hours, via a secure online portal.

The MAP program anticipates offering around 3,000 tests a week with the expansion.

—By Saul Hubbard, University Communications