August 12, 2020
Dear faculty and staff,
Testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 remains challenging for all entities in the United States. At Reed, we are fortunate to have purchased 6,500 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests from Tempus for use this year. The PCR test is the most accurate COVID-19 test available. This past week we launched our on-campus testing program, and we thank those of you who were tested last Tuesday and Wednesday.
Reed was able to test 386 people in two days, with minimal challenges. The vendor that is doing the lab work, however, has proven slower than promised in delivering the test results. Therefore, we have not been able to fulfill our commitment to deliver all test results within five days.
As of today, we are waiting for 36 results from the lab. Of the test results we have received, two were positive. Following our procedures, the individuals who tested positive are in isolation, and any individuals who may have had close contact with them were notified privately and immediately. We will continue to report the total number of positive cases at Reed on our case notifications & reporting web page.
The COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group is actively engaged in refining our testing strategy, with important context and input from members of the Reed community and experts in the field. While it is premature to write to you and the entire campus community without this information more finalized, we want you to know now that issues are being addressed. Primarily, we want to reassure you that we are planning for increased testing of students living in residence halls as well as surveillance testing of other campus populations. Additionally, we are increasing the number of providers with which we are working so that we can deliver test results quickly. This will likely include using rapid test machines that produce results in approximately 15 minutes.
We plan to share more information about testing next week. In the meantime, if you have questions, please send an email to the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group at email@example.com.
Mandy Heaton on behalf of the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group and Human Resources