UHS says positivity rate from clinical tests too complex to report

Neha Madhira

Calculating the number of COVID-19 tests administered through University Health Services and their average positivity rate would be too complex because of pop-up testing sites and other rules about self-reporting, said Sherry Bell, consumer education and outreach coordinator for UHS and CMHC.

UHS testing is reserved for students with COVID-19 symptoms or students previously in contact with a lab-confirmed positive person. Students, faculty and staff who have not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms for two weeks prior and have not previously tested positive for COVID-19 can be tested through the UT Proactive Community Testing Program. 

Both have provided testing for students on campus and said they will continue to adapt their services as the number of positive cases on campus continues to increase.

The proactive testing program has administered approximately 3,000 COVID-19 tests since Aug. 24 with an average positivity rate of 1.5%, program manager Michael Godwin said in an email. UT has since updated their coronavirus dashboard to include 4,481 total tests through the program, with 71 of those being positive. 

In an email, Godwin said the proactive testing program has kept up with demands so far. He said wait times to get tested have varied between five to 30 minutes, and it takes about one to three days to notify students of their test results.

“We are steadily increasing our staffing at both the testing sites and lab to help us increase capacity,” Godwin said. “There are challenges with supply chain and shipping logistics, but we haven’t yet experienced any disruption to our operations.”


UHS typically takes one business day to notify students about their results depending on testing volume, Bell said. Bell did not respond to a question over email when asked about wait time. 

Exercise science sophomore Audrey Haugh said she has had two tests done through UHS, both of which returned positive for COVID-19. 

“(The testing process) was kind of scary at first because I obviously didn’t want COVID-19, and when I was in line there were all these kids hacking around me,” Haugh said.

Haugh said the people working at the pop-up testing locations helped her move through the process quickly.

“Both the spit and nasal tests only took a day for me to get my results back,” Haugh said. “There is a great COVID-19 facility that works with the University to give students who don’t want to infect their roommates or family temporary housing, which is where I am living right now.