As we have come to the end of the first month of classes, I would like to update the community on COVID testing and other important public health measures that will keep our campus safe. I am very pleased to report that there were no positive test results during the first two weeks of surveillance testing on campus.
Our testing strategy was reviewed by epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists from Pennsylvania Department of Health and local hospital networks. Our test results are updated regularly on the Lafayette College COVID-19 dashboard.
At the beginning of September, the College shifted from arrival testing and retesting of students who were from high-prevalence states to surveillance testing of all students approved to be on campus. The purpose of surveillance testing is to monitor the prevalence of COVID infection on campus. This means that we are testing samples of our population in a way that allows us to make decisions most efficiently and effectively. At this point, we are testing approximately 15 percent of the student body every week.
The average turnaround time for surveillance testing is 24-48 hours. Please be mindful of the significance and limitations of testing. Test results should never alter your behavior. Although the sensitivity of our PCR testing is over 95 percent effective, false negative tests results do occur. Since the incubation period may be up to 14 days from the time of exposure, a test can become positive after your negative result. I cannot stress enough that responsible decisions and protective behaviors will result in the desired outcome of keeping our campus healthy.
Lafayette has partnered with Lehigh Valley Hospital Network (LVHN) to provide testing for students, faculty, and staff. As part of this partnership, LVHN is providing additional services to our employees, including a Lafayette Nurse Line (Terri Latvis, RN, 610-861-8080, select 5 to bypass menu and input extension: x21237) to answer questions regarding exposure, quarantine, and coordination of care.
Finally, I urge everyone to get a flu shot this semester. Employees can register for one of our upcoming clinics, which will be held behind Bailey Health Center. The health center has partnered with CVS pharmacy to administer flu shots for students this semester. Students will receive an email in the next several days with further information.
Now is the time to lock arms as a community and commit to the health and safety of our campus.
Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein