COVID-19 swab tests

A Florida Department of Health worker holds a box of COVID-19 swab tests at a mobile testing lab on May 7, 2020.

As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages on, it is important for the East Carolina University community to take necessary precautions and follow the guidelines and protocols put in place by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the university.

One critical way to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 is to get regularly tested if you are subject to large gatherings or face-to-face contact within more than six feet of an individual frequently. For students, the option to take a saliva test should positively contribute to the university community. Saliva testing is noted to be more comfortable than it’s counterpart, and it reduces the large number of nasal swabs used.

As a way to surveillance test the university’s population, the Brody School of Medicine (BSOM) and ECU’s School of Dental Medicine have developed a free saliva test which detects the virus. This saliva test will be used by the Student Health Services throughout the spring semester.

We, the editorial staff of The East Carolinian, advocate for the saliva tests as it does not require trained healthcare workers to administer it and it is more comfortable and easier to endure than the traditional nasopharyngeal swab test.

The BSOM received $15 million from North Carolina’s state legislature as a way to study COVID-19 in the eastern North Carolina region. A portion of these funds was used to study a new way to test the virus. Students who reside in residence halls will be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis for one month as of Feb. 15, and approximately 25% of the spring housing population will be tested per week.

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