The program is a data-driven endeavor to quickly identify and isolate the positive cases of the coronavirus that will inevitably emerge as time passes, UF Health officials said.
UF Health Screen, Test & Protect “is really the foundational element to allow us to bring back our students, our faculty and our staff to a safer environment,” said David R. Nelson, M.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health.
“Through it, we can quickly identify those who are infected so that we can protect the rest of the community and maintain a safe environment as we continue to fulfill the mission of a major public university,” he said.
Anyone returning to campus is screened using a short questionnaire that asks if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 or if they have been in contact with somebody who has tested positive for the coronavirus or who has symptoms of the illness.
Faculty, staff and students are then strongly encouraged to undergo a nasal swab, offered at no cost, to test for the coronavirus. Tests are mandatory for other students who work in clinical settings or in close proximity to research participants.
The Florida Department of Health, working with UF Health personnel, will conduct contact tracing of anyone infected by the virus. This involves interviewing the individual who tests positive to see with whom they recently interacted. These contacts are subsequently interviewed, with testing and self-quarantine strongly encouraged in cases of close contact. The original source of the infection remains confidential so that nobody subsequently contacted is told who might have exposed them to the virus.