Loyola’s testing strategy for COVID-19 was developed via a collaboration of experts from Loyola’s schools of public health, medicine, and nursing. The group consistently referenced and sought input from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Targeted serial testing of high-risk groups will be implemented on a regular basis. These groups were selected based on their frequent and often prolonged contact with students, placing them at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and thus of spreading it to the larger community. The protocols of other large, urban institutions such as Boston University involve placing campus community members into levels or categories of risk. Infection in these populations may serve as sentinel indication of disease, in order to “identify outbreaks and inform control measures,” according to the CDC.
The plan is to serial test on a weekly basis for each group. Although mathematical modeling has shown that widespread testing every two days is the most effective strategy*, this is impractical and unnecessary if holistic and broad-based measures to reduce spread are implemented.**
Testing for these groups will be conducted in the Institute of Environmental Sustainability main floor. While outdoor testing facilities are preferred, an indoor facility may be used if this is not feasible and the periphery of testing stations are at least six feet apart and physical partitions are in place.
Testing will be conducted by the medical staff of the Wellness Center (using full personal protection equipment) in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. A team of float pool nurses and nurse practitioners will also assist in the testing both at the satellite clinics and the targeted testing sites. In total, this will include 300-325 tests weekly.
Students demonstrating symptoms of COVID-19 will be tested in the satellite clinics located at the Water Tower and Lake Shore campuses. Students at the Health Sciences Campus have access to testing at the occupational/student health clinic located at the Medical Center. Satellite clinic testing will also be conducted by medical staff of the Wellness Center.
*Paltiel et al., JAMA Open, July 31, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.16818)
**Bradley et al., JAMA Open, July 31, 2020; doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.17838