4/18/21 Vaccine Hesitancy

A Protect Purdue banner featuring Purdue Pete hangs outside of the vaccination and COVID testing site. 

All COVID-19 testing through the Protect Purdue Health Center is appointment-only, and asymptomatic people who haven’t had high-risk exposures won’t be able to be tested at Purdue until at least Jan. 24, Purdue officials announced Monday.

The testing center is no longer allowing walk-ins. Instead, all students and staff are required to make appointments to be tested.

The Protect Purdue Implementation Team said in the campus-wide email that the omicron variant has led to a spike in test demand. Officials cite evidence that those infected with the omicron variant begin testing positive three days after infection and often get false negatives in the first two days.

“Scheduling allows the Protect Purdue Health Center (PPHC) to maximize capacity amid high demand, reduce lines and on-site wait times, and provide individuals with proper case management and direction based on their circumstances,” the letter said.

The PPIT recognized the shortage of health-care workers both at Purdue and across the nation amid the surge of the Omicron variant.

In addition to people who are asymptomatic and don't have a high-risk exposure, those who need it for non-university-approved travel can't be tested at the Co-Rec until at least Jan. 24, the email reads. Those who need to be tested for university travel are instructed to call the PPHC to schedule a test.

The PPIT cites the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defining high-risk exposure as “an interaction within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more with a COVID-positive individual, where both individuals were not wearing masks.”

There are different instructions provided in the email based on what level of symptoms patients are showing, mild or severe, and their level of vaccination for what they should do if they want a test. Anyone experiencing symptoms or who has had a high-risk exposure, regardless of vaccination status, should contact the PPHC for next steps, according to the email.

Routine surveillance testing will stay the same. PPIT encourages all students and staff to schedule an appointment to receive their vaccine or booster shot in the vaccine clinic at the Co-Rec Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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