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Marshall University to randomly test students, staff for coronavirus

Marshall University to randomly test students, staff for coronavirus
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Marshall University on Tuesday will begin randomly selecting 60 students, faculty and staff members for coronavirus testing each weekday to help detect asymptomatic individuals.

The West Virginia school announced that it is entering the next phase of COVID-19 testing, referred to sentinel surveillance testing. 

The goal is to help identify people across different cross sections on its Huntington campus who may be infected but not showing symptoms. 

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The testing is free and voluntary. A person can also be selected more than once.

In addition, 175 football players and staff will be tested several times each week.

If someone tests positive, the university’s contact tracers will arrange for that person to be isolated and reach out to those who interacted with the infected person.

“We think this is a very good to stay on top of the situation and make sure we contain a spread if it starts to develop,” Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert told WV Metro News.

Everyone was tested before the fall semester began and the rate of positive results was just over 0.5 percent, according to Gilbert. Officials will monitor that number in an effort to ensure it does not spike.

“If it were to go up then we would start taking additional measures in terms of testing other populations,” he said. “So it would give us a chance to find out where it may be increasing in incidents and then focus on that area.”

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Marshall University enrolls nearly 12,800 students across all its campuses and programs. The state of West Virginia has reported more than 11,500 cases and 247 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

West Virginia University on Monday announced that it was suspending in-person classes and moving them online due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

The university came to the decision “in direct response to a recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases in students on the Morgantown campus, as well as concern for the probability of increased cases that may arise following several reports of parties held this holiday weekend where groups should have been in quarantine.”