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Testing and Contact Tracing

Self-Monitoring, Testing and Contact Tracing

As detailed in the Community Commitment that our students, faculty and staff have signed on to, our Falcon Family is moving forward together to keep our learning communities safe and productive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the following information regarding daily symptom monitoring, testing and surveillance testing, and how contact tracing is being conducted at BGSU.  

Daily Symptom Monitoring

All of us need to be vigilant in self-monitoring for symptoms. If you typically have common symptoms such as congestion related to allergies or infrequent headaches, take note of whether symptoms are different and follow up if they are beyond your normal baseline. An elevated temperature of concern is at or above 38 C or 100.4 F. Self-monitoring your temperature at home or with thermal scanners placed in buildings on campus should be a practice each day. 

BGSU has launched the #CampusClear app, which can be downloaded for free and used for daily health screenings.

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If you are experiencing symptoms, stay home or at your residence hall room and contact your medical provider or Falcon Health Center to decide whether testing is appropriate. Your supervisor or department director should be notified that you are staying at home. The chief health officer and COVID-19 Response Team are also available to answer questions and provide guidance on next steps at health@bgsu.edu or via the Hotline at 419-372-3000, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Testing and Surveillance Testing

Testing continues to be an effective but scarce resource across our nation. BGSU will continue to be strategic in deploying our testing with students, faculty and staff. We have learned that having multiple options for testing is important as reagents, supplies and result wait times fluctuate. 

BGSU, in partnership with Wood County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health, is supporting Wood County Hospital in purchasing Thermo Fisher RT_PCR equipment, which will greatly expand capacity for COVID-19 testing. In the upcoming weeks, this enhanced capacity will serve not only BGSU, but Bowling Green and other Northwest Ohio communities.

BGSU is implementing a program of randomized surveillance testing that will help the university and our community further monitor and respond to the prevalence of COVID-19. An expansion of our initial testing of targeted groups of asymptomatic individuals (those not experiencing symptoms), this ongoing program will use proportional stratified random sampling to give us a more representative picture of the presence of COVID-19 in those who are in-person on our campus.

The surveillance testing will focus on undergraduate and graduate students on the main campus. At future dates, testing may expand to students at Firelands campus and may also be available for faculty and staff who wish to volunteer to be tested. At future times, we may also test selected groups of students where increasing numbers of cases are of concern.

Students excluded from the surveillance testing program:

  1. Students who are not coming to main campus and do not have in-person interactions with anyone who is on-campus.
  2. Students who are less than 18 years of age
  3. Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 (using a PCR test) in the past 90 days
  4.  Students who are currently experiencing symptoms or in quarantine because of a close contact with a positive individual

There is no cost to the student for the surveillance testing. Participation in the program is expected and is part of the Falcon Commitment in our return to campus. This surveillance testing program aims to serve our public health mission of monitoring and reducing the transmission of COVID-19. While requests to opt out of the testing may be submitted, participation this program is strongly encouraged.

Multiple rounds of scheduled randomized surveillance testing will take place at regular intervals. Students randomly selected each week will be notified via their university email and/or text message to schedule a date and time, along with instructions for next steps. Testing will take place on the BGSU campus or at Falcon Health Center.

There are a variety of tests available to detect exposure to COVID-19. Availability of tests and development of new technologies are constantly changing. For this program the widely accepted diagnostic test which detects the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) using RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) will be used. Currently this molecular test that detects the virus's genetic material (RNA) is more reliable for diagnosing the presence of COVID-19 than an antigen test or antibody test. Though antigen tests provide results in minutes and they have high specificity (meaning false-positive results are unlikely), they also have lower sensitivity, which means a higher chance of having a false-negative result (missing some infections). Antibody tests are designed to determine who has been previously infected with the virus, these tests help with providing estimates of infection, but do not provide whether someone is currently infected.  

This program focuses on students who are asymptomatic. Any student experiencing symptoms for COVID-19 should contact their medical provider or Falcon Health Center to determine whether an immediate test is appropriate.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is important in minimizing the spread of the virus and is the process of identifying individuals who may have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The Wood County Health Department is the primary agency responsible for conducting contact tracing for any individuals residing in Wood County. BGSU is working in partnership with the health department to support their efforts. 

When an individual tests positive, they will be asked by the health department or the COVID-19 Response Team (email health@bgsu.edu or call the hotline Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 419-372-3000) about who they have been in close proximity to (within six feet for greater than 15 minutes) from when isolation began back to 48 hours prior to symptoms starting. If an individual is asymptomatic, they will be asked about contacts back to 48 hours before their positive test was taken. Contact tracing minimizes the continued spread of the virus and underscores the importance of maintaining six feet of distance. Monitoring for symptoms and contacting a medical provider should symptoms develop is important during isolation and quarantine.