KU expands symptomatic testing capacity with drive-thru swab clinic in Naismith Hall parking lot

photo by: Conner Mitchell/Journal-World

A sign directing participants to a new drive-thru COVID-19 test clinic in the Naismith Hall parking lot on the University of Kansas campus.

Through a new drive-thru clinic in the parking lot of Naismith Hall, the University of Kansas now has the ability to offer an additional 50 COVID-19 tests per day specifically for those showing symptoms of the respiratory virus.

Through a partnership with the KU Health System, the university can now offer 80 total tests each day for symptomatic patients, including the 30 tests that the Watkins Health Center could offer daily, KU spokesperson Erinn Barcomb-Peterson told the Journal-World.

The capacity for symptomatic tests could also increase to as many as 100 tests per day at the new swab clinic if needed — giving KU the ability to test up to 130 people with COVID-19 symptoms each day. The clinic in the Naismith Hall parking lot, 1800 Naismith Drive, will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Thursday through Monday.

“The increased capacity at the Naismith site is freeing up Watkins Health Services to carry out the many non-COVID services it offers to our campus,” Barcomb-Peterson said in an email.

The tests conducted at Naismith and Watkins for symptomatic patients use nasal swabs to detect the virus, which, while more uncomfortable, have been shown be slightly more accurate and more sensitive in detecting the SARS-COv2 virus, which causes COVID-19.

The increased symptomatic testing is separate from KU’s testing capacity of 525 tests per week for saliva-based testing on those who are asymptomatic but were in close contact with a confirmed positive case, as well as some randomized community prevalence testing.

According to an email from KU Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer on Wednesday, all symptomatic and asymptomatic testing should be free for those receiving it. All health insurance providers are currently required to cover the costs of symptomatic testing, and for those without insurance, the costs are covered through outside funding. KU is providing the asymptomatic testing free of charge as long as people meet the required criteria — meaning they were selected to receive the test.

KU is scheduled to release a new round of COVID-19 data Friday afternoon, as well as a new short-term forecast model from its Pandemic Medical Advisory Team.



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