Husky Coronavirus Testing is a voluntary research study that provides COVID-19 testing.

Tests for the virus that causes COVID-19 are administered at in-person testing sites and through a test kit that you can take at home. The program is powered by the Seattle Flu Study team — the group that was the first to report community spread of COVID-19 in the United States. If you have questions, please review our testing FAQ. You can also email huskytest@uw.edu or call 206-616-2414.

Enrollment for UW students, faculty and staff remains open

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Who should enroll

All UW students and employees who will be at a UW campus or facility can enroll, even if they have been fully vaccinated.

The program is voluntary and available to these groups on the Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma campuses. You need a UW NetID to participate and must either work or attend classes at least once per month — either remotely or in person — and live within commuting distance (~30 miles) of the Bothell, Seattle or Tacoma campus. Since Husky Coronavirus Testing is conducted as a voluntary research study, you can opt-out at any time.

Medical and health sciences students participating in clinical activities are welcome to participate in Husky Coronavirus Testing, but will also need to continue to follow specific clinical testing protocols. Student-athletes should continue to participate in UW Athletics’ testing program. UW Medicine clinical personnel should continue to follow in UW Medicine’s testing protocol.

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What happens when you enroll

If you choose to participate in Husky Coronavirus Testing:

  • You’ll complete a baseline questionnaire about your demographics, contact information and housing situation. You may be asked to visit a test center on-site to be tested as soon as you enroll.
  • You’ll get a daily e-mail or text message asking you to fill out a short questionnaire (< 2 min) about whether or not you feel sick or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Questionnaires extend for the during of the participation in the study (up to the full school year).
  • Based on need and risk, we may ask you to be tested for COVID-19 on occasion throughout the academic year, either at an on-campus test center or by a kit that we mail to your house. This would happen if you are feeling sick. We may also request you to get tested even when you do not feel sick to detect COVID-19 in people without symptoms and to improve our understanding of how COVID-19 circulates in the community.

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When and where testing takes place

Map of self-service testing kiosk locations on the Seattle campus (at the HUB, Lander Hall and the Health Sciences Building T-Wing)

In-person testing

Walk-in testing is available. To expedite your visit, please enroll in the program online first. Additionally, you will be offered a testing appointment if you report new COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure on your daily check-in. If you receive a testing invitation, we recommend that you get a test right away.

In-person testing is conducted at the UW Club building and UW Medicine’s South Lake Union complex. The UW Club is not fully accessible to all; please note any access needs you have on the appointment form so we can provide you with appropriate support.

In-person testing sites may also be established during events such as housing move-in.

Self-test kits

Seattle campus – Self-test kits can be picked up at the following locations:

Kits can be returned to the drop boxes at those locations during the hours the building is accessible (with the exception of the HUB location, which can only accept kit returns while a staff member is present between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.). Please note that residence hall access is generally limited to residents and authorized personnel.

UW Bothell – Self-test kits can be picked up in the Tacoma Paper and Stationery building between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (with the exception of 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday). A return box is also located at the Tacoma Paper and Stationery building and kits can be returned anytime the building is accessible.

UW Tacoma – Self-test kits can be picked up in the Campus Y Center between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (with the exception of 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Tuesday) and between 8 a.m. and noon on Saturdays. A return box is also located at the Y Center and kits can be returned anytime the building is accessible.

Swab-and-send kits

If you have health or mobility limitations preventing you from visiting a test center, you may be offered a test kit to be completed at home and returned to the laboratory in the mail.

 

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Overview of the program

The Husky Coronavirus Testing program tests for current coronavirus infections — not antibodies from past infections —  and is organized into three main components.

  • Return-to-campus testing: Testing is conducted based on your answers to the enrollment questionnaire, and those at lower risk – such as those who only come to a campus sporadically or who don’t report having any symptoms – are less likely to receive a test in this phase.
  • Symptomatic testing: All program participants will receive a daily e-mail or text message asking about symptoms. If you reply that you have symptoms or that you think you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you’ll be eligible to receive a test.
  • Rapid response testing: If someone in a shared living or working environment receives a positive test, we can respond with broader testing for anyone in that environment who may have come into contact with them, with the goal of stopping further spread.

Tests are processed at the Brotman Baty Institute and the program is being conducted as a research study with the approval of UW Research’s Human Subjects Division.

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Frequently asked questions

Do I have to participate?

Husky Coronavirus Testing is a voluntary research program. You can disenroll at any time without any penalty. The University of Washington will not be notified whether or not you decide to participate in the study.

Is there a cost?

Husky Coronavirus Testing is free for UW students, staff, and faculty and other academic personnel, regardless of insurance status.

Does everyone who enrolls get a test?

Everyone who enrolls is offered a test shortly after completing the enrollment questionnaire. Additional tests are conducted based on your responses to the daily check-in. If you are at higher risk – such as coming to campus frequently or living in group housing – you may be invited to test more frequently.

If you’d like to get tested outside of Husky Coronavirus Testing, a number of options are available. Please see “I want to get tested for COVID-19, where can I go?” for more information on other testing opportunities.

How can I get tested?

Begin by enrolling in Husky Coronavirus Testing at seattleflu.org/uw/start. If you are a new enrollee, you will receive an invitation to sign up for your first test shortly after enrolling.

If you are already enrolled in Husky Coronavirus Testing, you may be selected for a test after submitting your daily check-in if:

  • You are symptomatic;
  • You had a “high risk” exposure; and/or
  • You recently traveled

If you are selected for a test, you will be prompted to schedule an in-person testing appointment or take a test using kit we provide to you. If you are offered a test, make the appointment as soon as possible, or you can walk into the UW Club to get tested. We recommend making an appointment if you want to get tested at the UW Club, or if you would rather use a test kit to swab yourself. If you choose the latter option, we will let you know where to pick up a kit.

We can only offer testing once every 3 days, at most. To ensure more accurate results, your testing invite may be delayed if you report a high risk exposure in the last 2 days or attending a community gathering in the last 24 hours.

Should I still get tested if I've been vaccinated for COVID-19?

Once you are vaccinated, please continue to participate in Husky Coronavirus Testing by completing your daily check-ins. You should get tested for COVID-19 each time you develop any symptoms or had close contact with a person with known COVID-19.

The vaccine will help prevent you from getting sick with COVID-19, but this protection is not 100%, and we do not know if the vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus to others.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will not cause you to test positive using the viral COVID-19 tests in Husky Coronavirus Testing.

Does HCT still conduct community testing?

Community testing – i.e. random testing of participants regardless of symptoms – helps us understand how COVID-19 is spreading so the UW can use the most current information to make health and safety decisions. Husky Coronavirus Testing periodically uses this testing strategy to help us learn where COVID-19 is circulating.

What kind of swab is used for this test? Can I swab myself?

When you receive a test through our program, you will swab yourself, either in a testing kiosk or wherever you choose with a testing kit. We use shorter nasal swabs, which look like miniature plastic honey dippers, that only reach the front part of your nose. You may have mild discomfort such as a tickly or runny nose, watery eyes or sneezing. The process lasts just 15 seconds per nostril.

How long will it take to receive my results?

It normally takes 24-72 hours to process and return test results after the lab receives your sample. If your results are not available to you after 72 hours from the lab receiving your sample, please contact us.

How can I access my test results?

You will get an email or a text that includes your barcode information and a link to the online results portal after you completed an in-person testing appointment or after the lab has received your at-home testing kit. You can input your barcode and date of birth at seattleflu.org/results to view your results.

Can I provide my results as "proof of a negative COVID test" for air travel?

Since Husky Coronavirus Testing is a research study and the results we provide are research results, some travel agencies and countries do not accept our tests for their travel requirements. In addition, there is not a timestamp on your results page. Please check with your travel agency and the country you are traveling to on their acceptable testing requirements.

What happens if my test result comes back positive?

Stay home and self-isolate from others for 10 days since your test date. If you are experiencing symptoms, stay home for 10 days from when your symptoms started and 24 hours after your symptoms resolve. Do not go to work or class. If you live in a residence hall, notify residence hall staff who will help facilitate your self-isolation.

UW Environmental Health & Safety will reach out to you for follow up. They will ask standard questions to support your isolation and to prevent transmission on campus and among University community members. They will contact UW employees and/or students you may have been in contact with recently, and provide public health guidance. The local health department may also reach out to you with similar questions. For more information, see “What to do if I have confirmed COVID-19?

What happens if my test result is inconclusive?

If your test result is inconclusive, it is treated like a positive test result.

Stay home and self-isolate from others for 10 days since your test date. If you are experiencing symptoms, stay home for 10 days from when your symptoms started and 24 hours after your symptoms resolve. Do not go to work or class. If you live in a residence hall, notify residence hall staff who will help facilitate your self-isolation.

UW Environmental Health & Safety will reach out to you for follow up. They will ask standard questions to support your isolation and to prevent transmission on campus and among University community members. They will contact UW employees and/or students you may have been in contact with recently, and provide public health guidance. The local health department may also reach out to you with similar questions. For more information, see “What to do if I have confirmed COVID-19?

Who will be informed of my test result?

The UW will not use information from this program to discipline individuals. UW Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) will be informed if you are positive to perform contact tracing and assist with any quarantine needs. Public Health — Seattle & King County (Seattle and Bothell campuses) or Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (Tacoma campus), along with the Washington State Department of Health are informed of COVID-19 test results to provide assistance and perform contact tracing, if needed.

When should I get re-tested?

When you test positive for COVID-19, there is a possibility that you will test positive again, even when you are not infectious. If you test positive for COVID-19, you can get re-tested through Husky Coronavirus Testing beginning 90 days after your positive test result per CDC guidelines. If you experience new symptoms and/or exposures within 90 days then you should contact a healthcare provider for further evaluation.

What if I have already tested positive for COVID-19?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 10 days, please follow the instructions in the “What do I do if I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19?” Q&A.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 prior to that, you can still enroll in Husky Coronavirus Testing. Currently, the likelihood of becoming infected more than once is not well understood. If you were to develop symptoms again after 90 days, we recommend repeat testing. You can also enroll any time during the year if you develop symptoms or decide you’d like to enroll.

How long does the Husky Coronavirus Testing program last?

This study will run from September 2020 through at least spring quarter 2022.

What is the goal of the study that powers Husky Coronavirus Testing?

The goal of the study that powers the Husky Coronavirus Testing program is to describe the clinical and virologic characteristics of cases of the novel coronavirus in the UW community. This will allow the UW to provide support to individuals who test positive, as well as to better understand transmission among the community, including symptomatic and asymptomatic cases. The findings from this study will help to inform the development of new systems to help prevent the spread of pathogens on college campuses and other educational facilities.

Why do I need to enroll in a research study to get testing at the university? Is there an option that does not involve being in a research study?

There are several reasons for why testing is being offered through this research study.

First, it gives us the opportunity to answer important scientific questions that can inform the broader community. As a clinical test site, we would not be able to collect important information in a systematic way, especially around symptoms, exposure risk, travel history, vaccine status, mask use and other important topics.

Second, through a research study, we are also able to look at the way the virus is spreading in the community using viral sequencing, linking variant information to this other data that we have collected.

Third, we are able to utilize innovative methods that are not possible as part of a regular clinical testing site, including using drop boxes for swab collection, testing out different types of swabs and lab assays, and other important new methods that can help move the field forward and help other researchers, clinicians, and public health professionals make decisions.

We acknowledge that having the most available way to get tested through a research study is a valid concern. However, testing is available through many options, as listed on the UW website, including sites in the community and at the hospitals. Due to factors beyond our control, there are times when getting tested with HCT will be more convenient than other testing options, and at unique times HCT may be the only option for various reasons such as during large peaks in the community when other testing sites have limited availability. Unfortunately, the research team cannot control the availability at other testing sites or their capacity for expansion in response to demand.

Why can’t you make it an option to do the testing either as a research study or as a clinical test?

We have considered having a non-research test available, but we are not able to test in a non-research manner. We want to emphasize that even though HCT is a research study, we maintain the same clinical standards for our research test. There are many regulatory and logistical issues with trying to do both research and clinical testing at the same time. The types of tests we can offer are different for the two groups and how we collect and process the sample is also different. Much of what we do as a research lab has allowed us to develop new, more efficient methods that others have been able to adopt in other testing platforms. Collecting data about COVID-19 is also important to report as research on a large scale, because this is how the scientific community learns about COVID-19.

Who has access to my data? How will my information be shared?

Your privacy is extremely important to us. Only the Seattle Flu Study research team, UW Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S), and local and state public health departments will have access to your data. These groups will follow privacy rules and regulations and will use your information only for public health and research purposes. No data directly linked to you will ever be made publicly available. To protect access to your results, you will be given a personal barcode.

All study information is protected in a secure, confidential manner with industry standard encryption. We will also store aggregated information separately from your personal information in order to understand trends in how coronavirus is spreading.

Washington State law requires that all notifiable conditions including COVID-19 be reported to local health jurisdictions and the Washington State Department of Health. If your sample tests positive for one of these conditions, these organizations and/or UW EH&S will likely contact you to ask you additional questions. They will keep your information private. The UW and local and state health agencies also publicly report the number of positive tests for COVID-19, however these statistics do not contain personally identifiable information.

The UW will not use information from this program to discipline individuals.

I have more questions - who do I contact?

We would be happy to discuss your questions. Please send us an email at huskytest@uw.edu or call 206-616-2414.

 

Husky Coronavirus Testing is powered by the Seattle Flu Study team with the support of the Brotman Baty Institute.

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