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NYMC SARS-CoV2 Pooled Screening Surveillance Program

New York Medical College (NYMC) has begun SARS-CoV2 screening in a randomized sample of 200, drawn from the population of students, faculty and staff, who are frequently present on the Valhalla campus. Beginning the week of September 29, 2020, a new sample will be drawn and screened every 2-3 weeks until further notice.

Participation in this screening is mandatory and free-of-charge for those randomly selected.

Persons randomly selected will be asked for a small saliva specimen (not nasal swab) that will be pooled with other specimens, shipped to a nearby laboratory and screened for SARS-CoV2 using a molecular PCR test. A smaller group of persons identified in PCR-positive pools may be recalled for individual diagnostic testing by nasal swab.

Background

SARS-CoV2 infection continues to affect communities across the world. As we start the new academic year, schools, colleges and universities, have opened their campuses to in-person, hybrid or full remote instruction. Despite efforts to physically distance and wear masks, some institutions of higher education have reopened only to temporarily shut down or transition to remote instruction due to outbreaks on their campus. As a result, several colleges and universities have started to conduct testing of all persons on campus.

The screening program is intended to detect an increase in SARS-CoV2 infections at NYMC, should it occur. There are currently an estimated 1,000 persons present on campus throughout any given week, comprising of students, faculty and staff. Screening is performed using a saliva sample and is pooled; pooled means the individual person who is positive is not identified from the saliva sample. Details regarding the testing locations and times will be provided in an email to persons randomly selected for the screening. There will be no cost incurred by the participant for this saliva screening test.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. To detect an increase in SARS-CoV2 infections, if it occurs, among our students, faculty and staff, while they continue to come to campus.

  2. You were randomly selected from a list of persons who are often present on campus.

  3. When you receive the email notification that you have been randomly selected, you will receive details regarding where to go (on campus) and at what times.

  4. Once you arrive to the screening location, the entire process should take no more than ten minutes. There will be staff at each location to assist and guide you throughout the process. Giving saliva is extremely easy.

    • If your sample is in a pool in which there appears to be a positive result, the surveillance program staff will contact you and inform you that you now need a SARS-CoV2 diagnostic test.
    • Your diagnostic test will be done at the Family Health Center on campus at 19 Skyline Drive.
    • You will incur no charge for this test.
    • This diagnostic test is to be obtained within 24 hours of the notification that your sample was in a positive pool.
    • You will be required to be on a precautionary isolation until your diagnostic test result is obtained. This means you will not be able to attend work or school because of the potential that you could have SARS-CoV2 infection.
  5. No, it means that you are in a group of people in which one or more persons may have SARS-CoV2 infection. To identify who is infected, those persons in the pool must have a SARS-CoV2 diagnostic test.

  6. Anyone informed that they are in a positive pool must be on a precautionary isolation until the results of your diagnostic test are known. That means you cannot go to work or school in person. The surveillance program will notify your supervisor or academic dean that you are pulled due to the surveillance program.

    Employees whose responsibilities allow for remote work will establish a work plan with their supervisor to enable them to work remotely until cleared to return to campus.

    Employees whose role cannot be performed remotely will be excused with pay. Employees are expected to be available for phone or email consultation as needed.

  7. Until your diagnostic test result is known, you must practice isolation. The details of what isolation entails will be provided to you but are basically consistent with isolation requirements for persons with confirmed SARS-CoV2 infection.

  8. You can return to work on campus after you receive a negative SARS-CoV2 individual diagnostic test result.

    If your SARS-CoV2 diagnostic test result is positive, you are to inform Health Services and your physician. Health Services will place you on a required isolation and your local department of health will be notified.