Surveillance testing is a strategy commonly used by public health officials to help them better understand the spread of a disease and the effectiveness of steps being taken to slow or stop the spread. They do so by testing specific samples within a population in a way that allows them to make inferences as efficiently as possible. Please see the surveillance testing page for more information.
Any student or employee who is showing symptoms of COVID-19 or who has been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 (as determined in conjunction with the contact tracing process explained below) can receive a COVID-19 PCR test at an Illinois community based testing site. If that individual does not have insurance to get tested or is experiencing other barriers (i.e., no transportation), testing can be arranged through the DCHD. If testing is needed to mitigate a potential outbreak (e.g., a student in a residence hall tests positive), the DCHD will facilitate testing to assist in containment.
Tracking and Tracing
When a member of the university is found to be infected, the DCHD will conduct contact tracing. Contact tracing is used to prevent the spread of infectious disease by identifying people who have an infectious disease and their contacts (people who might have been exposed) and working with them to interrupt disease transmission. For COVID-19, this includes asking individuals diagnosed with the virus to isolate and those they have been in contact with to quarantine at home voluntarily. The health department also will provide support and guidance for those who have potentially been exposed to the virus.