The University will make COVID-19 test kits available to symptomatic students starting on Monday, providing symptomatic students with safer means to test for COVID.
In a Friday evening email, the administration announced the new availability. The Symptomatic Test Kits, slightly altered from the tests the University has been providing for arrival and surveillance testing, will include one antigen test and one saliva PCR test.
According to the announcement, students should take the antigen rapid test first. If results come back positive, infected students must scan the QR code located on the outside of the test box, upload their results and await further details from the University about how to isolate and recover from COVID-19.
If students initially test negative, they should still scan the QR code and upload their results. Then, students should take the saliva PCR test 30 minutes after eating or drinking and scan the QR code to register their test.
“Antigen tests are not as sensitive as PCR-based saliva tests, meaning they are not as good at identifying infection early or late in the virus cycle,” the email said. “If you are experiencing symptoms but test negative using the antigen test, it is best to follow it with the saliva test.”
Once registered, students can drop off saliva tests at one of the saliva sample drop-off boxes located across campus and the wider Ithaca community. The University expects students to complete the necessary tests within 24 hours of picking up a kit.
Symptomatic Test Kits will be available for pick-up at a drive-up only Tower Road traffic booth near Stocking Hall, or a walk-up only Campus Road traffic booth near Carpenter Hall. The two locations are open from 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and from 9-11 a.m. over the weekend.
To receive a kit, students must show their student ID and be experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19, according to the email.
“This is a new offering, which will make symptomatic testing more convenient for students, faculty and staff,” the University wrote.
Cornell reminds students that if they are experiencing severe illness –– such as a high fever or difficulty breathing –– they should stay home and seek immediate medical attention. Students with severe symptoms can contact Cornell Health; faculty and staff in a similar position should reach out to their primary care physician.
More information about symptomatic testing can be found on Cornell’s COVID-19 Response page.