COVID Updates: New Testing Protocols, Symptoms Guidance & Latest Weekly Data


Timely updates on our COVID testing protocols and other related health and safety measures.

Today’s updates cover:

  • New randomized surveillance testing for faculty, staff and students
  • Guidance on what to do when you have symptoms (very important with cold & flu season approaching!)
  • Latest weekly data

NEW RANDOMIZED TESTING PROTOCOLS

Starting Monday October 4, we will begin randomized COVID-19 surveillance testing of Oxy community members who are not already being tested regularly through required testing, opt-in testing and/or cohort-based testing. Every Monday, several hundred randomly selected students, faculty and staff will receive an email from Emmons letting them know they need to test that week. With the addition of this robust sample size, we anticipate testing more than 1,000 community members each week, which will include ample representation from cohorts from across campus. Consistent with our original plan, our testing protocols continue to adapt as conditions evolve. We are adding this new measure based on consultation with our medical team, Dr. Kim Shriner '80 and the Covid Operations Group.

Thus far, we’ve experienced very low positivity rates at Oxy due to our high vaccination rate, vigilance in adhering to our policies and robust testing. We want to build on this success by expanding our required testing to include randomized surveillance testing.

If you receive a message from Emmons regarding randomized testing: Oxy’s testing site is centrally located on the second floor of the Arthur G. Coons (AGC) Administrative Center. Please come for your test from 8 a.m.-3:45 p.m. at a time that is convenient for you. You may come any day of the week, no appointment necessary. Please do not eat, drink or smoke at least one hour before testing. Testing, which uses a salivary sample, should take you 10 minutes to complete and you will receive your results the following day via a message from the myhealth.oxy.edu portal.

GUIDANCE: WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS

Being fully in-person this semester, in combination with the change of seasons, means that we fully expect to see an increase in cold and flu symptoms--symptoms that can also be consistent with COVID. Emmons has indicated that their staff is already seeing a steady increase in symptomatic individuals this semester. It is important that anyone experiencing symptoms test for COVID-19 to either identify or rule out COVID to minimize the chance of community spread.

  • FOR STUDENTS: If you are experiencing any symptoms, you must come to the AGC testing facility for a test. In addition, you should not be attending class if you are feeling unwell, and we encourage you to keep your professors informed on any absences due to illness. You may come directly to the AGC testing center and do not need to contact Emmons before testing. If you do need to contact Emmons, there are three options:

    • Email emmons@oxy.edu
    • Call 323-259-2657 during business hours: 9:00am-noon and 1:00pm-4:00pm Monday through Friday.
    • Call the 24/7 telephone hotline (323-341-4141) for medical and counseling assistance. (Please note that the hotline is not staffed by Emmons staff. When you call the hotline, the person who answers the phone will decide what supports are most appropriate to connect you with, and will advise you as to next steps. After the initial phone assessment, if the recommendation is that you speak with a medical provider, someone will call you back in no more than 60 minutes.)
  • FOR EMPLOYEES: If you are experiencing any symptoms, stay home. If you remain symptomatic for 24 hours, please see your Primary Care Provider and get a COVID-19 test at an off-site facility. Please send your test results to Emmons. You should not come to campus if you remain symptomatic. If you are unable to get tested off campus, please come to the AGC COVID testing facility. If you are coming to campus for testing, you are only permitted to come to campus to get tested and should not go to your office or interact with any other Oxy community members.   

LATEST WEEKLY TESTING DATA

The COVID Operations Group has updated the testing and case data on Oxy's website through the end of last week. In summary:

  • TESTING: For the week ending Friday, Sept. 24, we conducted 759 tests with zero positives. This was our third consecutive week with zero positives.

  • CASES UNDER MANAGEMENT: On Friday, Sept. 24, we had two cases under management (compared to zero cases under management the prior Friday), defined as the number of COVID-positive individuals under active case management by Emmons at any specific point in time. The two cases came from confirmed positive tests that were conducted off campus by non-Oxy facilities.

It is important that we all remain vigilant to minimize the presence of COVID on our campus and in our community. Thank you for your continued adherence to Oxy’s health and safety guidelines, and doing your part to protect yourself and our community. Community members are encouraged to submit any comments or questions to oxy@oxy.edu, an inbox staffed by the Marketing & Communications team.

Marty Sharkey & James Uhrich (COG co-chairs)

COVID Operations Group