Western New Mexico University will soon have rapid testing capabilities on campus.
To better mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and maintain a healthy campus and community, WNMU leadership has been researching testing units over the past few months.
This month, the university expects to have the ability to conduct SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing on campus and receive results within 15 minutes. Nonemergent testing will continue to be made available through WNMU medical partner, Hidalgo Medical Services.
“Rapid testing, combined with thorough contact tracing and quarantining, is one of the best ways to effectively minimize the spread of COVID-19 in a community. Our goal is to help students return to class and sports sooner,” said WNMU president Dr. Joseph Shepard.
As the NCAA will soon require more frequent and regular testing of student athletes, Director of WNMU Mustang Athletics Scott Noble is coordinating the efforts to acquire nasal swab testing units and complete the staff training and certification process.
“We in WNMU Mustang Athletics operate within our institutional and state guidelines and also adhere to NCAA protocols, which is only possible through rapid testing. The BD Veritor System meets all NCAA and institutional requirements for rapid testing, and WNMU is poised to implement it on campus as soon as it arrives,” Noble said. “Our student athletes will now be able to train and compete with the reassurance that they are not spreading the virus.”
Antigen testing has a sensitivity rate of 84%, so negative results will be considered presumptive, and the university will encourage more testing and possible quarantining. “These tests are a tool to help us track the virus quicker and isolate anyone who could potentially transmit the virus sooner than if we were forced to wait days for results,” Dr. Shepard said.