COVID-19 testing centre opens on UW campus

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UW has opened a testing centre for students and employees located at the Health Services building on campus.

The centre, which opened on Oct. 1, 2020, aims to alleviate stress and traffic experienced at other testing centres in the Waterloo region. 

The centre was created in partnership with St. Mary’s Hospital, with tests processed off-site. In the initial phase, the centre will only open for symptomatic UWaterloo students and employees of the Waterloo region.

“The University’s agreement with St. Mary’s Hospital is for a campus service and not a service made broadly available to the local community. We are exploring whether we can expand this mandate in the future,” Rebecca Elming, Manager, Media Relations at UW, said.

UW plans to aid Public Health with contact tracing using a Campus Check-In system, which utilizes on-campus Wi-Fi in order to record and trace one’s connection to the different access points on campus. In the event of a positive COVID-19 case on campus, UW will be able to respond quickly if tasked by Public Health to perform contact tracing and maintain Public Health guidelines.

Gaurav Lance D’Souza, a third-year student at UW, voiced his opinions regarding safety while visiting testing centres. 

“I think this is a great initiative set up by the university. However, Health Services is a building on campus that has always been crowded even before COVID-19, and I’m afraid that there is a chance I may be exposed to it if I visit the centre,” D’Souza said.

UW outlined what safety measures and protocols will be implemented at the testing centre to protect students and staff. 

The University has many new protocols in place to keep students and staff safe on campus, which will be in place at the assessment centre. These measures include an increase in the cleaning of high-touch surfaces, many new hand sanitizing stations across campus, and the requirement that anyone on campus and in communal spaces must wear a mask,” Elming said.

Students and employees can book appointments by filling out a registration form online for the test. Health services will not take appointment requests via phone, email or walk- in. 

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