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New testing program could help University of North Georgia track COVID-19 trends on campuses
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University of North Georgia student Samuel Peralta sits between classes Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, at the Gainesville campus on the first day of classes of the fall semester. - photo by Scott Rogers

The University of North Georgia will begin offering free COVID-19 surveillance testing for asymptomatic students and faculty beginning on Monday, Sept. 28, according to UNG spokeswoman Sylvia Carson.

“Surveillance testing is conducted to monitor the spread of COVID-19 within a community, particularly among asymptomatic individuals,” Carson wrote via email. “This program is part of the university’s multi-faceted approach to monitor the spread of COVID-19 within the UNG community.”

The surveillance testing program is voluntary, and interested UNG students and staff can sign up to be tested on the UNG website. Testing will be done one day of the week every week on each UNG campus, with registration for the following week opening each Sunday. Upcoming testing dates at the UNG Gainesville campus are Monday, Sept. 28; Tuesday, Oct. 6; Monday, Oct. 12; Tuesday, Oct. 20 and Monday, Oct. 26.

UNG will be using polymerase chain reaction tests, which use a sample of an individual’s saliva to determine if that individual is positive or negative for COVID-19. Results will be available within three to five business days, according to Carson.

Participants are asked to be well-hydrated prior to being tested, and should not eat, drink, smoke or chew anything for at least 30 minutes before their test.

UNG Student Health Services are still offering COVID-19 testing for symptomatic students and staff. Individuals suffering symptoms of COVID-19 should call or email the health services to set up an appointment.