Students can get tested for COVID-19 even without symptoms

Student Health and Wellness (SHaW) provides students with information about COVID-19 testing and surveillance as well as the timeline for medical isolation. Students can now get tested for COVID-19 even without symptoms. Photo by Matt Pickett/The Daily Campus

Any Storrs based student at the University of Connecticut may get tested for COVID-19 at Student Health and Wellness Center, Dr. Ellyssa Eror, medical director at SHaW, said.  

“Surveillance testing for students without symptoms of COVID-19 takes places through the north entrance of the Field House,” Eror said. “Evaluation and testing of students with symptoms occur through the south entrance of the Field House.”  

This confirmation comes after Megan Russell, sixth-semester nursing student, shared a negative experience while getting tested at SHaW on Reddit.  

“I wasn’t symptomatic or selected randomly but wanted to get tested,” Russell said in her post. “However, when the SHaW employee found out that I was being tested because I wanted to, she was annoyed because it messes up their random testing algorithm.”  

Russell said at this point in the pandemic, there should not be debate over someone’s decision to get a test.  

“She made me feel bad about getting tested,” Russell said. “I walked out of the field house regretting my decision to get tested, and the university should not make students feel bad for getting tested.”  

“I walked out of the field house regretting my decision to get tested and the university should not make students feel bad for getting tested.”

Since being on campus, Russell has been going for a COVID-19 test once a week.  

“I believe that for the university to contain the virus it is important for students to get tested frequently regardless of if they are selected randomly,” Russell said. “We are in a situation where fortunately the university has made testing so easy for students and we should take advantage of it.”  

Eror said students with and without symptoms are able to get tested, since COVID-19 can look like many other illnesses.  

“Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should be evaluated and tested. These symptoms include fever or chills, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea,” Eror said. “Individuals who have a “close contact” (less than six feet for more than 15 minutes) to someone with COVID-19 need to be quarantined for 14 days and should be tested during that quarantine period. It is best to be tested days five to seven from the exposure but testing after day seven is better than no testing at all.”  

“Students with no symptoms can still test positive and should get tested”, Eror said.  

“Students with no symptoms can still test positive and should get tested.”

“The greatest risk that comes with all surveillance testing is a false sense of security,” Eror said. “Having a negative test does not decrease the need to practice control measures or decrease your risk of contracting COVID-19 in the future.”  

Russell said her decision to get tested weekly is in the interest of herself and the people around her.  

“Nobody should ever make someone feel guilty for using the resources at their disposal,” Russell said. “We are so lucky that, at UConn, we have access to testing, and we should not take it for granted.”  

The younger population at UConn means there is a higher probability of students being asymptomatic, Russell said.  

“Fortunately, I have been negative each time I have gotten tested,” Russell said. “I also know that COVID-19 testing is expensive and costly to the university. While I take those costs into account, I think the cost of unknowingly spreading the virus to others greatly outweighs the financial downfall.” 

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