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Harvard University Health Services and the Broad Institute have administered COVID-19 tests to approximately 3,000 employees and researchers to date at a testing site at Harvard Stadium as part of the University’s partial reopening of its offices and labs.
In addition to the site at the stadium in Allston, HUHS launched a second testing site on July 1 at the New Research Building at Harvard’s Longwood campus.
Eligible Harvard affiliates — students, staff, and faculty authorized to be on campus for over 4 hours per week and showing no symptoms of COVID-19 — schedule testing appointments using an online registration form on a dedicated website known as Crimson Clear.
Also using Crimson Clear, those working on campus are required to describe any symptoms or contact with others who have tested positive for COVID-19. Upon completion, a “clear” pass — valid for 23 hours — grants affiliates permission to re-enter Harvard facilities.
Crimson Clear has received reports from 5,000 Harvard affiliates and has granted an average of 2,000 “clears” each day, according to HUHS executive director Giang T. Nguyen.
Those coming to campus are required to undergo either two to three days before or within two weeks after arriving. The Broad Institute then informs affiliates of their test results within two days after the test was administered.
“Through baseline and recurring tests, we can ensure that the safety protocols we’ve established are meeting their intended goals,” Nguyen wrote in an email. “Should we experience an increase in positive test results, we can quickly adjust our operations to effectively mitigate any outbreaks.”
In the case of a positive test, HUHS reports the results to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, mandates a roughly 10-day isolation period for the individual, and proceeds with contact tracing.
At the testing sites, HUHS maintains social distancing measures including desks located more than six feet apart, spots on the floor marking where test takers should stand, and arrows — rather than personnel — directing where to go. After given a testing kit, participants self-administer a nasal swab test under the supervision of HUHS clinicians.
Leonardo A. Sepúlveda Durán, a postdoctoral fellow in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology department, said he appreciated the tests being free of charge, and described the procedure at Harvard Stadium as “easy” and “streamlined.”
Mohammed Mostafizur Rahman, a Molecular and Cellular Biology department postdoctoral fellow, noted that the entire testing process took “hardly ten minutes.” He also received his results very quickly, in fact, “the next morning.”
“So in the current condition, I think Harvard is doing very good,” Rahman said. “But as you know, with more people coming back, it's always a challenge.”
—Staff writer Nidhi Patel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Christina T. Pham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @Christina_TPham.
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