BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) – With classes back in session at South Dakota’s public universities, SDSU wants to make sure they have the ability to quickly help anyone that may contract COVID-19.
These three machines are giving SDSU hope that it will be able to keep everyone on campus for the whole semester.
“Our overall goal is to protect the health and well-being of our students and our employees as we aim for Thanksgiving,” Daniel Scholl, VP for Research and Economic Development at SDSU, said.
SDSU worked with the Department of Health to bring three rapid COVID-19 testing machines to campus.
“I have behind me three ‘Abbott ID Now’ machines which can give a student a result, positive or negative test result, in anywhere from eight to fifteen minutes,” Scholl said.
Having those fast results could potentially slow the spread of the virus when someone tests positive.
“Those that are positive pop-off right away at eight minutes. So we’re able to get those results to our clinicians and they are able to start the contact tracing right then and there,” Ann Hegerfeld, the medical lab supervisor, said.
Of course, these machines might not be enough for testing every student on campus.
“We have 11,500 students at SDSU so there’s potentially a lot of people who will need to know their SARS 2 infection status. For that purpose, we have set up a lab within our Animal Disease, Research and Diagnostic Lab specifically for testing for SARS 2 viral infection,” Scholl said.
SDSU obtained federal certification in order to set up that laboratory.
“By next week we expect to be able to test a very large number of students at a time. When we’re fully operational, even 200 students a day, or approaching 200 students a day,” Scholl said.
Chris Svarstad, a junior at SDSU, says knowing those machines are on campus helps him feel safer about being back in the classroom.
“I’ve got to compliment the institution of SDSU because they have done a phenomenal job. They have the greatest sanitation methods ever, they have hand sanitizing stations all over the place, they have masks, they have these testing machines, they have social distancing measures in place,” Svarstad said.
Students that feel they may need to take test can call student health at SDSU.