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Fort Hays State University to begin weekly COVID-19 testing

A rise in COVID-19 cases in Ellis County includes Fort Hays University students who attended house parties and bars last weekend (Aug. 14 and 15).
A rise in COVID-19 cases in Ellis County includes Fort Hays University students who attended house parties and bars last weekend (Aug. 14 and 15).(KWCH)
Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 5:44 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Fort Hays State University announced that beginning next week, a new COVID-19 surveillance testing program begins. The weekly testing for asymptomatic members of the campus' community “will supplement the ongoing symptomatic testing available in the Student Health Center,” the university said.

The university said the main goal of the surveillance testing program is to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 among its on-campus community. The testing program will sample a small number of people within a group in regular contact with one another (a campus cohort).

“If a member of the cohort tests positive, expanded testing for the group will be available,” the university said.

Groups designated as a “cohort” include residents in university housing, athletic teams, faculty and students in on-campus classes, employees in departments who are in frequent contact with members of the campus community and the public, and university employees who are in frequent contact as a group.

“Individuals in these cohort groups will be notified in advance and provided with additional details including timing, location, and any specific testing protocols,” the university said. “Testing is voluntary and based on self-collected saliva specimen kits. Surveillance testing is scheduled to start the week of September 21 and will continue into December.”

The ramp-up in testing follows a report last month in which Ellis County reported more than 100 new COVID-19 cases in less than a week. The Ellis County Health Department said one of the contributing factors was Fort Hays State students attending house parties and bars.

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