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Pooled COVID-19 Testing

TESTING MATRIX

Newburgh campus testing will be conducted during the weeks of
Oct. 19
Nov. 2
Nov. 16

Middletown campus testing will be conducted during the weeks of
Oct. 26
Nov. 9

Upon the recommendation of the State University of New York (SUNY) and to ensure the continued safety of all on-campus students and employees, SUNY Orange will implement a College-wide testing protocol as outlined below. 

Using the pooled saliva testing technique developed by Upstate Medical University and the University at Albany, we can offer an effective COVID-19 test with a quick turnaround time that is both less expensive and less invasive than many of the tests currently available.  

The overarching goal of the testing protocol is to identify pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic cases (through the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in saliva samples) thus mitigating the risks of virus spread. Pooled testing will be conducted in conjunction with the daily screening tool (#CampusClear) already in use at SUNY Orange. Pooled testing will be mandatory for any student attending class(es) on campus. College employees, may participate in testing should they choose to do so.

FAQs

What do I do if I’m unavailable at my assigned testing time?

To the best extent possible, you are expected to adhere to your assigned time. Keep in mind SUNY has made this testing mandatory for students, and has established SUNY-wide sanctions for non-compliance. Testing is not optional. If you find it impossible to participate within your assigned window, please contact the Wellness Center (wellnesscenter@sunyorange.edu) to make alternate arrangements within another testing session.

If I get tested at my job/clinical site, or by my healthcare provider, do I need to be tested at SUNY Orange?

Your non-College administered test must be completed within one week prior to your testing window. You can share the results by scanning your test findings or taking a photo of your results and emailing that file to the Wellness Center (wellnesscenter@sunyorange.edu). If you are tested off campus, keep in mind that you must provide SUNY Orange with test results at least once every two weeks (in connection with your scheduled on-campus testing session). If you can’t be tested every two weeks off campus, you must then report to your on-campus pooled testing window.

Will I get my results when I participate in pooled testing?

Individual results from pooled surveillance testing are not reportable per CDC/FDA guidelines.  Those in a negative pool will be "presumed negative" and will not be contacted. Students or employees who test positive through the pooled testing process will be notified by SUNY Upstate Medical Center via email to review their results through Upstate’s MyChart patient records portal. Students and employees who choose not to sign up for MyChart can still obtain a hard copy of their reflex test results by sending a request  to releases@upstate.edu (provide your legal name and date of birth). The College and Orange County Department of Health will also receive notification of positive test results and will initiate contact with those impacted individuals.

What is the process of clearing students or employees to return to campus after being tested positive?

The Wellness Center is not a direct care provider, so it cannot provide clearance to return. Students must provide written clearance, generated by their healthcare provider, to the Wellness Center at wellnesscenter@sunyorange.edu. Employees must give a written return-to-work clearance, generated by their healthcare provider, to the Human Resources department.

Do I have to be tested if my in-person class will be meeting remotely for the rest of the semester?

No. Testing is only required if your course will be meeting on-campus.

Why must I enter my health insurance information on the COVID-19 Surveillance Account application, and will the testing impact my insurance?

Regulations within the CARES Act prevent SUNY Upstate Medical (the institution processing/testing the pooled samples) from billing students and employees, assuring those tested have no “out of pocket” costs. To recover some testing expenses, SUNY Upstate can file a claim with your insurance company. You may want to contact your insurance carrier if you have additional questions. If you are uninsured, you should note that in the first insurance field and enter “NA” in the remaining insurance fields. (All employees covered under the College’s health insurance plan are covered 100% for the cost of coronavirus testing)

General Testing Information

Testing Schedule

Newburgh campus (Kaplan Hall Great Room)


Monday, Oct. 5
Last Name A – L (10 a.m. to Noon) / Last Name M – Z (Noon to 2 p.m.)

Thursday, Oct. 8
Last Name A – L (2 to 4 p.m.) / Last Name M – Z (4 to 6 p.m.) 

Newburgh campus testing for all students will follow the schedule above (days of the week and times) during the weeks of Oct. 19, Nov. 2 and Nov. 16. Students must submit swabs during each testing week.

Middletown Campus (Shepard Student Center Lower Level)

Tuesday, Oct. 13
Last Name A to C (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) / Last Name D to G (2 to 6 p.m.)

Wednesday, Oct. 14
Last Name H to L (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) / Last Name M to O (2 to 6 p.m.)

Thursday, Oct. 15
Last Name P to R (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) / Last Name S to Z (2 to 6 p.m.)

Middletown campus testing for all students will follow the schedule above (days of the week and times) during the weeks of Oct. 26 and Nov. 9. Students must submit swabs during each testing week.

schedule subject to change (as of Sept. 29, 2020)

What to Do Before Your Test

In Advance of Testing Day

  • Several days before testing, students are instructed to create a COVID-19 Surveillance Account and complete their profile at least two days before testing (http://register.suny-covid.com/)
  • Prior to testing, students are instructed not to eat or drink anything, including chewing gum, mints or lozenges, within 30 minutes of reporting, and should not have brushed their teeth or used mouthwash within the past three hours. In addition, test subjects must abstain from smoking, vaping, or using smokeless tobacco products for 30 minutes prior to the test.

What to Expect at the Test Site

Student Info for Testing Day

  • Arrive at the proper time and location.
  • Each student approaches Greeter station in turn and with student ID in one hand, and mobile device in other hand.
  • Greeter asks the student if they are currently experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms; if yes, the Greeter instructs the student to stop and report to the Wellness Center for further instructions.
  • Non-symptomatic students are asked to verify that they have not eaten or drank or brushed or used other prohibited substances as instructed. If they cannot verify this, they are asked to exit and return in an hour.
  • Greeter checks if the student has a student ID and mobile device. If not, they are told to come back with both.
  • Greeter checks to make sure the student has completed their profile in the COVID-19 SUNY Surveillance App. If the Greeter cannot verify this, the student is told to step aside and register before entering.
  • When prompted, student puts ID away and approaches Attendant #1.
  • Upon arriving at the assigned collection station, students use hand sanitizer.
  • Student launches their COVID-19 Surveillance Account using their own mobile device.
  • Student is prompted not to open saliva swab collection device, then handed the device.
  • Student enters the saliva collection kit barcode (double entry), linking it to themselves. Barcode entry should be completed while collection kit is still packaged.
  • Attendant 1 verifies the student has entered the correct barcode. To do this, student should read barcode from their mobile device, while Attendant 1 follows on the collection tube. If there are inconsistencies, student is asked to correct them before proceeding. NOTE: Strict adherence to this procedure #12 is critically important.
  • Attendant 1 prompts student to move to Attendant 2 with their collection swab.
  • Following the guidance of Attendant 2, and instructions provided on the saliva collection kit, student carefully opens the packaging, then collects saliva from mouth for 10-15 seconds. In order to achieve higher throughput, Attendant 2 can oversee two students at once during this process, if they are able to monitor effectively while maintaining proper social distancing.
  • Student tightly closes the tube, and shakes the tube vigorously 10x to mix with stabilizing reagent.
  • If collection is successful, student hands tube to Attendant 2. Using the student’s ID as reference, Attendant 2 writes the student’s full name and date of birth (DOB) on the tube, taking care not to write on the pre-printed barcode. The name and DOB should follow the following syntax: Last Name, First Name, MM/DD/YY.
  • After writing the student’s information on the collection tube, Attendant #2 should confirm the student’s ID was entered correctly into the registration. This should be accomplished by Attendant 2 comparing the ID on the registration confirmation page with the student’s physical ID. If the student does not have a physical ID yet, Attendant 2 should validate the ID in the app by checking syntax and validating from an external system. Any incorrect IDs must be corrected by the student before proceeding.
  • Once prompted by Attendant 2, student will finalize their registration. Otherwise if the collection was unsuccessful, the collection tube is discarded in the trash and student returns to Attendant 1’s line.

SUNY Orange COVID-19 Testing Plan

Upon the recommendation of System Administration and to ensure the continued safety of all on-campus students and employees, SUNY Orange will implement a College-wide testing protocol as outlined below.   

Using the pooled testing technique developed by Upstate Medical University and the University at Albany, we can offer an effective COVID-19 test with a quick turnaround time that is both less expensive and less invasive than many of the tests currently available.  The cost of the Upstate program is $15 per individual pooled sample and then an additional $60 per individual diagnostic test if the pool is identified as positive.

The overarching goal of the testing protocol is to identify pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic cases (through the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in saliva samples) thus mitigating the risks of virus spread.  Pooled testing will be conducted in conjunction with the daily screening tool (#CampusClear) already in use at SUNY Orange.  Pooled testing will be mandatory for any student attending class(es) on campus.  College employees, may participate in testing should they choose to do so.

Pooled Testing Technique

This testing technique involves collecting individual saliva samples which are then mixed together creating a “batch” or “pooled” sample and then testing the pooled sample with a diagnostic test.  If the pooled sample is negative, it can be deduced that all individuals were negative. If the pooled sample is positive, then each sample within the batch needs to be tested individually to find out which was positive.

Because samples are pooled together, ultimately fewer tests are run and fewer testing supplies are used.  In most cases, pooled testing also has the benefit of reducing the time needed from collecting specimens to test results (24 - 48 hours), which is critical for maintaining College operations.

College Pooled Testing Operation Team

At SUNY Orange campus pooled testing will be facilitated by the Health and Safety Workgroup of the Emergency Management Team.  The Workgroup is led by the Vice President of Student Services Gerianne Brusati, and includes

  • Susan Corbett, RN, Wellness Center
  • Deborah Dorwitt, MD, Technical Assistant & Adjunct Assistant Professor, Biology
  • Leland Hach, Interim CIO
  • Iris Martinez-Davis, Associate Vice President, Human Resources
  • Madeline Torres-Diaz, Associate Vice President, Student Engagement and Completion

Members of this Workgroup have implemented the #CampusClear self-screening app, partnered with the Orange County Department of Health on the development of referral and contact tracing procedures, and participated in relevant SUNY webinars specific to the design of our pooled testing plan.  Five members of the group are certified contact tracers.

Campus Population/ Testing Frequency

testing frequencyThis semester, 1230 students and 159 employees are regularly coming to one of our campuses to work, teach or to attend class two to four times per week.  The highest daily attendance is approximately 886 (730 students and 156 employees).

SUNY Orange operates at two campus locations and is prepared to offer testing at both sites on a regular schedule throughout the semester. 

Utilizing the recommended sample size/frequency in the SUNY provided Guidance, the intention is to test 50% of our on-campus population every week.  Depending on the start date, SUNY Orange will conduct a series of four or five testing cycles until late November when all classes move to remote delivery.

Individuals who have had suspected exposure to COVID-19 or who are symptomatic (based on #CampusClear self-monitoring) will be excluded from pooled testing and referred to their health care provider.

Individuals being tested will be randomly assigned to a pool.  More randomness better protects potentially sensitive health-related information and possible identification of pool membership and/or COVID status.  We recognize that this method could delay contact tracing efforts if there is a positive result but feel the random assignment will reduce anxiety about the test and support fuller participation.

SUNY Orange will monitor pooled testing results in order to take proactive action.  For example, all individuals who have tested positive will be instructed to self-isolate; notification will be made to the Orange County Department of Health whose staff will initiate contact tracing with our assistance.

Further, SUNY Orange will continue to monitor daily #CampusClear results and overall County infection rates.  If the total number of students self-reporting COVID-related symptoms increases, or the number of COVID positive cases County-wide begins to rise, immediate consultation with the Orange County Department of Health would be taken to contain risks to the on-campus population.  The pooled testing schedule could be modified if necessary.

Testing Locations

Appropriate locations for testing have been identified at each campus (Great Room, Newburgh campus; Shepard Center Lower Level, Middletown campus.)  Both areas provide adequate space to allow for appropriate physical distancing, separate means of entry and egress, and an adjacent room suitable for the sample pooling task.  (Contiguous outdoor space could be used to alleviate crowding, weather permitting.)

The collection station set-up will follow the guidelines set forth in the COVID-19 Pool Testing Standard Operating Procedure.

  • Two tables for each collection station (one for materials to distribute to individuals being tested and one for pooling purposes)
  • Several tables and chairs for individuals being tested to use near each collection station (spaced 10 feet apart)
  • Large trash receptacles (1 per station) with bags and ties
  • Social distancing reminder marks and signs
  • Hand sanitizer (stands and pump bottles)
  • Transportation container for pool bags of individual swabs (pooler station)

Room Layout Schematic

testing room layoutNote that the “pooler” will be stationed in an adjacent room contiguous to the testing area.

Plan Logistics

Responsibility for Plan logistics will be undertaken by the Vice President for Student Services and executed by members of the Health and Safety Workgroup with additional support provided by

  • Campus Facilities – test site set-up and PPE
  • Communications Office – announcements/reminders to students; posting of instructional videos
  • Human Resources staff – recruitment of volunteers to staff testing locations
  • Wellness Center staff – chain of custody of tests

Training

Proper training of all personnel will be crucial to the success of the testing Plan.  In addition to the written materials and instructional videos provided by SUNY, we are hoping to connect with another SUNY campus where pooled testing is already successfully underway. 

Once teams have been recruited and scheduled, members of the Health and Safety Workgroup will present a two-hour training that will include an introduction to pooled testing, an orientation to the testing protocols, and a practice session at the actual test site.  

PPE

For the purposes of executing our pooled testing Plan we anticipate the need for

  • Disinfecting Wipes (1 per station/ 4 total)
  • Hand sanitizer / pump bottles or stands (4 per location / 8 total)
  • Box of plastic gloves (2 per location / 4 total)
  • Face Shields (3 per station/ 6 total)
  • Disposable paper gowns with cuffed sleeves (I box per location /2 total)
  • N95 or fluid masks (3 per station /6 total per test x 5 tests/30 total)

The campus inventory of PPE includes some, but not all of the required PPE in the quantities noted for the full series of testing cycles.

Data Management

Each collection station will keep an electronic spreadsheet of students who are

tested. The spreadsheet will be on a Google Drive through the SUNY Orange account and shared within a restricted group including the collection teams, the main contact for testing data management, and others within the college as determined by the Emergency Management Team.

The following information will be recorded:

  • Date
  • Location of Collection Station (Middletown or Newburgh)
  • Name of the student being tested
  • A# of the student being tested
  • Pool Number of the student’s sample
  • Result of the pooled test
  • If student’s sample is positive, date and result of diagnostic test for this student

Isolation & Quarantine Protocol

As a non-residential campus, SUNY Orange has worked closely with the Orange County Department of Health to determine a suitable protocol should the need for isolation or quarantine occur.  It is assumed that students/employees will isolate or quarantine at home.

The protocol (updated on August 12, 2020) is as follows:

In the event that an individual (staff, faculty, student) has an exposure to an individual with a CONFIRMED diagnosis of COVID – 19 the following steps will be taken:

  1. SUNY Orange will be notified by the Orange County DOH (or other counties dependent upon the county the individual resides) if an exposure has occurred. The Wellness Center staff RN, Susan Corbett at (845) 341- 4870 is to be notified for all student and the Human Resources department, Iris Martinez- Davis AVP of Human Resources (845) 341-4662 for all college employees. SUNY Orange will assist the local health department by providing information as needed to assist in the contact tracing procedure.
  2. The Orange County DOH is to be contacted immediately of suspected cases at (845)291-2330.
  3. Contact tracing is the role of the local DOH and they in turn will notify all individuals whom have been in close contact with positive individual.
  4. NYS DOH defines close contact as “someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 10 minutes starting 48 hours before illness onset (symptoms) until the time the person was isolated.
  5. The local health department will implement monitoring and movement restrictions of COVID- 19 infected or exposed persons including home isolation and quarantine.
  6. When notified by the DOH of a confirmed case, SUNY Orange CANNOT release any student/staff names. The DOH may request information from SUNY Orange, specific to if an individual attended/ taught classes and a list of class members to assist in contact tracing.
  7. Individuals with symptoms should be tested for COVID- 19. Testing sites are listed in the repopulation plan if the individual does not have a medical provider to contact.
  8. SYMPTOM-BASED STRATEGY TO DISCONTINUE HOME ISOLATION FOR PERSONS WITH COVID- 19: maintain isolation for at least 10 days after illness onset and at least 3 days (72 hours) after recovery. Illness onset is defined as the date symptoms began. Recovery is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, with progressive improvement or resolution of other symptoms.
  9. If an individual has had close or proximate contact with a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time AND is NOT experiencing COVID -19 related symptoms, the individual may return to campus upon completing 14 days of self-quarantine from the date of last exposure.

Contact Tracing 

Similarly, SUNY Orange has worked closely with the Orange County Department of Health to determine a suitable protocol should there be a need for contact tracing.  It is the recommendation of the Orange County Department of Health that their staff orchestrate and manage any contact tracing efforts involving either a student or employee of SUNY Orange.   Personnel in the College Wellness Center and Human Resources office will assist the County contact tracers by providing information about the individual’s recent on-campus presence (classrooms/office/campus location) and proximate contact with other individuals (classmates, other employees).  The College would be involved in notification to the campus community of a confirmed COVID-19 case with instructions/information for isolation and quarantine and follow-up medical care.  Academic Affairs would work with impacted students and faculty to ensure course continuity.

Detailed Procedure for On-Site Testing

In Advance of Testing Day

  1. Students are informed of process ahead of time and must participate to be eligible for in-person class attendance.
  1. School designates collection area ahead of time and provides personnel to direct pedestrian traffic to and from site and manage student behavior.
  1. Students report to swab site location at specific time based on last names or ID numbers or other convention as determined by school.
  1. Collection day is determined ahead of time for each campus based on SUNY processing lab reservation.
  1. Several days before testing, students are instructed to create a COVID-19 Surveillance Account and complete their profile at least two days before testing ( http://register.suny-covid.com/)
  1. Prior to the day of testing, students are instructed to bring an official college photo ID card and their personal mobile device to the collection station.
  1. Prior to testing, students are instructed not to eat or drink anything, including chewing gum, mints or lozenges, within 30 minutes of reporting, and should not have brushed their teeth or used mouthwash within the past three hours. In addition, test subjects must abstain from smoking, vaping, or using smokeless tobacco products for 30 minutes prior to the test.
  2. On the day of testing, students form into lines at their assigned collection stations, maintaining 6 feet distance (lines will be taped on floor and reminder signs posted).

Testing Day

  1. Masked staff don gloves prior students arriving. Pooler additionally dons gown, and face shield. All staff should be wearing closed toe shoes.
  1. Each student approaches Greeter station in turn and with student ID in one hand, and mobile device in other hand.
  1. Greeter asks the student if they are currently experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms; if yes, the Greeter instructs the student to stop and report to the Wellness Center for further instructions.
  1. Non-symptomatic students are asked to verify that they have not eaten or drank or brushed or used other prohibited substances as instructed. If they cannot verify this, they are asked to exit and return in an hour.
  1. Greeter checks if the student has a student ID and mobile device. If not, they are told to come back with both.
  1. Greeter checks to make sure the student has completed their profile in the COVID-19 SUNY Surveillance App. If the Greeter cannot verify this, the student is told to step aside and register before entering.
  1. When prompted, student puts ID away and approaches Attendant #1.
  2. Upon arriving at the assigned collection station, students use hand sanitizer.
  3. Student launches their COVID-19 Surveillance Account using their own mobile device.
  4. Student is prompted not to open saliva swab collection device, then handed the device.
  5. Student enters the saliva collection kit barcode (double entry), linking it to themselves. Barcode entry should be completed while collection kit is still packaged.
  6. Attendant 1 verifies the student has entered the correct barcode. To do this, student should read barcode from their mobile device, while Attendant 1 follows on the collection tube. If there are inconsistencies, student is asked to correct them before proceeding. NOTE: Strict adherence to this procedure #12 is critically important.
  1. Attendant 1 prompts student to move to Attendant 2 with their collection swab.
  2. Following the guidance of Attendant 2, and instructions provided on the saliva collection kit, student carefully opens the packaging, then collects saliva from mouth for 10-15 seconds. In order to achieve higher throughput, Attendant 2 can oversee two students at once during this process, if they are able to monitor effectively while maintaining proper social distancing.
  1. Student tightly closes the tube, and shakes the tube vigorously 10x to mix with stabilizing reagent.
  1. If collection is successful, student hands tube to Attendant 2. Using the student’s ID as reference, Attendant 2 writes the student’s full name and date of birth (DOB) on the tube, taking care not to write on the pre-printed barcode. The name and DOB should follow the following syntax: Last Name, First Name, MM/DD/YY.
  1. After writing the student’s information on the collection tube, Attendant #2 should confirm the student’s ID was entered correctly into the registration. This should be accomplished by Attendant 2 comparing the ID on the registration confirmation page with the student’s physical ID. If the student does not have a physical ID yet, Attendant 2 should validate the ID in the app by checking syntax and validating from an external system. Any incorrect IDs must be corrected by the student before proceeding.
  1. Once prompted by Attendant 2, student will finalize their registration. Otherwise if the collection was unsuccessful, the collection tube is discarded in the trash and student returns to Attendant 1’s line.
  1. Attendant 2 adds collection tube to Collection Rack; once 12 samples are in this rack, Pooler retrieves rack and transfers it to the pooling table.
  1. For each of the 12 samples in the collection rack, Pooler twists opens the lid, squeegees the liquid from the swab by twisting it against the inside of the sample collection tube and then transfers the entire liquid contents from the collection tube to a secondary barcoded pool tube.
  1. Pooler twists closed each original sample tube tightly and adds it to the labeled common pool collection bag.
  1. Common pool tube stays in the collection rack until it has received samples from 12 students.
  1. With the addition of the 12th sample, the pool tube is sealed tightly and the exterior of the pool tube is wiped with a disinfectant wipe.
  1. Pooler verifies that the common pool tube and pool collection bag (which now contain 12 empty individual collection tubes) have the same label and places the common pool tube in the Pooled Rack; the pool collection bag (containing the 12 empty individual collection tubes) is set aside for transport to SUNY Upstate.
  1. After each pool collection is complete, the Pooler changes gloves or uses a disinfecting wipe to vigorously clean their gloves before handling the next set of pool tubes.
  1. Clean up collection site, remove PPE, wipe down face shield with a fresh disinfecting wipe, collect waste with double glove procedure.
  2. After all pools are completed, pool tubes and pool collection bags (containing 12 empty saliva collection vials) are transported to SUNY Upstate processing lab. This must be done by 3 pm for results to be generated the next day, otherwise the data will be available within 2 days. Pool sample tubes must be kept out of direct sunlight and held at room temperature.

as of Sept. 28, 2020