With hundreds of students returning to the University of Montana this week to begin the fall semester, concerns of community spread coronavirus are more prevalent than ever.
UM Medical Director Jeff Adams gave MTN News the rundown for the university’s testing capacity. He said school officials have been planning for their approach to coronavirus testing since the pandemic first reached Montana in March.
At this time, UM will offer symptomatic testing at the Curry Health Center for students only. The testing is considered point-of-care, meaning it will only take about an hour to get results.
In most instances, students will be tested from outside the health center, but if they’re sick enough to be evaluated they will be allowed inside.
Adams said the goal is to offer testing to everyone on campus -- like students, faculty and staff. But until they have a better idea of the prevalence of the virus throughout campus, they’ll prioritize the students.
Currently, UM and other units in the Montana University System are working on a comprehensive plan for surveillance testing of asymptomatic individuals.
In focusing on the students, Adams wants to see the students take the safety and health guidance seriously in return.
"Worry number one is that students will be so reckless with behavior that we can't control the pandemic," said Adams, "The contact list is so extensive that it's like a dry, windy day and controlling the embers. Can you put everyone out, or can you not manage it?"
Adams also noted that the university has designated housing ready for students who may need to quarantine.
Additional COVID-19 information from the University of Montana can be found here.