USD to conduct COVID-19 testing of randomly selected students, staff

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VERMILLION, S.D. (KCAU) – The University of South Dakota (USD) will be doing surveillance testing for COVID-19 of students and staff.

According to a release from USD, the randomly selected, asymptomatic students, faculty, and staff will be offered a free and voluntary test.

After establishing where people may be spending time together, the university will randomly select individuals from those groups and invite them to be tested at Sanford Vermillion Medical Center’s drive-thru or walk-up Testing Clinic.

After Sanford analyzes the results, the information will be forwarded to the university as well as to the Department of Health.

Officials say the testing will help to determine the rate of COVID-19 as well as identify where cases may be on campus.

Assistant Vice President of Research Compliance Kevin O’Kelley, who also serves as the head of USD’s COVID-19 Case Management Team, said they expect to see an increase of COVID-19 cases due to the testing.

“However, more data means we can be more proactive and curb the spread of COVID-19 faster. Our goal is to identify clusters, so we can limit the spread, prevent further surges, and remain on campus until Thanksgiving,” O’Kelley said.

O’Kelley added that if someone is randomly selected, they are urged to volunteer to get tested.

Nearly 40-45% of all COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic, according to the American Medical Association. Asymptomatic individuals are still contagious.

“Along with prevention measures like handwashing, wearing face coverings practicing social distancing, testing is a key tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” O’Kelley said.

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