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Plan for ongoing COVID-19 surveillance testing

UMass Medical School Communications

June 25, 2020

As you know, the Medical School has adopted numerous safety practices—including universal masking, social distancing and hand hygiene—to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our workplace. In addition, all UMMS employees and students currently on campus have tested negative for SARS CoV-2, the causative virus of COVID-19. While this is reassuring, each test represents only a snapshot in time. Therefore, next week we will begin to institute ongoing COVID-19 PCR surveillance testing for members of the UMMS community who are currently cleared to return to work. This testing will be conducted in partnership with the Broad Institute.

Individuals in the first phase of surveillance testing will receive an invitation via email on Thursday, June 25. Surveillance testing will start Monday, June 29, and will be conducted in the Old Medical School Lobby (located near the bookstore on the first floor of the Medical School building). All tests must be scheduled ahead of time; walk-ins will not be permitted. We will pilot our procedures next week, so not all employees will receive an invitation to test. Testing capacity will be increased in the coming weeks.

The Broad Institute’s testing protocol involves a self-administered test that is directly observed by a trained observer, the details and advantages of which are described in this fact sheet from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Members of the UMMS community will be able to access their test results directly through the Broad lab portal and will be notified via email whenever new results are posted. Positive results will be reported to the UMMS infection control officer so that appropriate steps can be taken to protect the working and learning environment. It is anticipated that this system of surveillance testing will be in place at UMMS for up to one year.