This week’s message includes information about the COVID-19 on-campus testing program, on-campus testing availability in the upcoming weeks, and updates to the COVID-19 Campus Case Tracker.
This will be the last update of the Fall 2020 term. The next Coronavirus Weekly Update will be Thursday, January 7.
COVID-19 Testing Program Updates
The University is making a variety of modifications to its COVID-19 testing program. At this time, updates include the following:
- The University will use a COVID-19 antigen test as the primary on-campus asymptomatic testing method beginning January 4, 2021. This type of test allows for increased testing capacity, quick test results, the ability to quickly move positive students into isolation and begin contact tracing, is affordable, and can be processed on campus. When deemed necessary by Student Health Services (e.g., individual is symptomatic or there is high clinical suspicion that an individual has COVID-19) a confirmatory PCR test will be required. Student Health Services recommends being tested twice per week if an individual feels that they are at risk for contracting COVID-19.
- Beginning January 11, employees may participate in free on-campus COVID-19 testing. Human Resources will share more detailed information with employees via email prior to the University shutdown.
- Students living in on-campus housing will be required to participate in COVID-19 entry testing upon return to campus. University Housing Services will provide more information to on-campus students prior to Move-in for the spring term. The goal of COVID-19 entry testing is to provide information necessary to control outbreaks and inform public health action.
- Illinois State continues to plan for saliva-based testing provided by the University of Illinois-SHIELD Illinois Program. However, the test developed by that program has not received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Additionally, technology for patient registration, specimen collection, and results notification is still in development by the University of Illinois-SHIELD Illinois Program.
Availability of COVID-19 Testing through January 15
Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of on-campus testing prior to returning home for Winter Break. Testing now and limiting activity as much as possible prior to returning home will help to keep you healthy and limit the spread of COVID-19 to family and friends. Additionally, students and employees are strongly encouraged to test upon return to campus after the break.
- December 14–18, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., Monday-Friday: Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for students will continue with the reduced hours noted above at the former fire station at 604 N. Adelaide St., Normal. Only students being tested should enter a testing center.
- December 21–23, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., Monday–Wednesday: Asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 testing for students will be available at Student Health Services. Call 309-438-7676 to schedule an appointment.
- December 24–January 3: On-campus testing will not be available during the University shut-down over the winter break. Student Health Services will be closed during the University shutdown and will reopen on January 4 for symptomatic COVID-19 testing.
- January 4–8, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., Monday–Friday: Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for students will be available at the former fire station at 604 N. Adelaide St., Normal. Only students being tested should enter a testing center. Students living in on-campus housing will be required to participate in COVID-19 entry testing upon return to campus. University Housing Services will provide more information to on-campus students prior to Move-in for the spring term.
- January 11-15, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday–Friday: COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic students and employees will be available at the temporary building in the parking lot between Watterson Towers and Stevenson Hall and the former fire station at 604 N. Adelaide St., Normal. Only individuals being tested should enter a testing center. Employees working remotely who wish to test are asked to postpone their participation in the testing process until after the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
Students experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms or who believe that they were exposed to a person with COVID-19 should contact Student Health Services at (309) 438-7676 for direction regarding quarantine and/or to schedule an initial screening and make an appointment to be tested. (Please note that Student Health Services will be closed during the university shutdown from December 24-January 3.) Symptomatic employees should contact their healthcare provider for testing or to make an appointment.
Testing is available for students, faculty, and staff at the Interstate Center testing site. Students testing at this site should share positive test results with Student Health Services by uploading them to the Secure Patient Health Portal. Sharing test results will ensure students have proper documentation for classes, housing, and/or employment.
As the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase in McLean County and throughout the state, we must follow all health and safety guidelines such as wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distancing. Remaining diligent in our fight against COVID-19 will help to keep Redbirds healthy and limit the spread on campus and in the Bloomington-Normal community.
Updated Quarantine Guidance
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated their quarantine guidance for persons deemed to be close contacts. Quarantining for 14 days is still recommended, but the following options are acceptable alternate ways to shorten quarantine:
- Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.
- Quarantine can end after Day 7 if a diagnostic specimen (specifically a PCR test and not an antigen test) tests negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The specimen may be collected on Day 6 at the earliest.
More information can be found at the Illinois Department of Public Health website.
COVID-19 Campus Case Tracker
The last day that Fall 2020 COVID-19 data will be added to the Illinois State University COVID-19 Campus Case Tracker will be December 23. The University will be closed December 24-January 3. Updated information will display beginning January 5.