QU Athletics announces weekly COVID-19 test

As Quincy University continues their approach to combat COVID-19, the athletics department has joined up with the QU Sports Medicine Program to administer COVID-19 viral tests.

These tests, known as surveillance tests, are conducted once a week, on 25% of all the athletic teams on campus. The surveillance tests are done in Pepsi Arena and then sent to Natural State Laboratories to be processed, they then provide the QU Sports Medicine staff with the results.

Vice President for intercollegiate athletics at QU, Marty Bell, says that the surveillance testing is necessary when the activities being performed don’t allow the athletes to consistently wear a mask or maintain a safe, social distance.

“The frequency of our testing is determined in part by the current nature of our athletic activities, consistent with the NCAA guidelines,” Bell said.

Bell believes that complying with these guidelines will assist QU in reducing the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

The first round of surveillance tests were conducted on September 10, 2020. Tiger Thomas, a student-athlete at QU, was one of the athletes who underwent testing on this day.

Thomas was told two days before the test that he was one of the students to be tested and feels much safer knowing that others around him have undergone the same process.

“I feel a lot safer going to practice when I known the other guys have been tested,” Thomas said.

Bell says that once QU teams enter into the competition phase, testing protocols will be adjusted to meet the NCAA guidelines.

These surveillance tests are not only beneficial for QU Athletes and coaching staff, but for the QU community as a whole. Athletes still interact on a daily basis with other people on campus who have no affiliation with QU Athletics, and so the implementation of these tests serves to protect the other students and staff members on campus as well as the greater Quincy community.

“The current approach will help QU to reduce COVID-19 infections for all students and members of the QU community, including those with no connection to intercollegiate athletics,” Bell said.

“The testing process was pretty efficient to be honest, it didn’t take long at all,” Thomas said. “But getting the results wasn’t efficient because it took extremely long to hear back.”

Thomas says that he is grateful for the surveillance testing because he also feels a lot safer on campus, away from team activities.

“There is a lot of athletes at QU and we all do different things and interact with different people so I think the testing is a good idea,” Thomas said.

With the addition of outside competition commencing in the spring semester, Bell notes that the university will have to increase the number of tests being carried out, however QU is hopeful for a vaccine that might make outside competition easier.

“With the addition of outside competition activities (in the spring) a greater frequency of testing will be needed in accordance with NCAA guidance,” Bell said. “A major new medical development might lead to a change in our current system of surveillance testing.”

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