University of Illinois president says key to stopping coronavirus spread is rapid testing: ‘We will face outbreaks’

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen warned Friday that the college will face coronavirus outbreaks as college students return to campus however mentioned the key to stopping additional spread is rapid testing. 

“We will face outbreaks, there’s no question. What we’re going to do is have actionable tests so that we quickly squelch down the outbreak,” Killeen informed CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “Once you know where the virus is, you can deal with it. If you don’t know where it is, it’s very tricky. It will develop.” 

All college students and workers on campus on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign should be examined for Covid-19 no less than twice every week, Killeen mentioned. The college developed its personal rapid, saliva-based coronavirus take a look at that is related to Yale University’s take a look at, which is additionally utilized by the NBA. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted the University of Illinois’ take a look at emergency use authorization shortly earlier than college students returned to class earlier this week. Officials have to date examined 121,000 individuals and located 248 distinctive constructive instances, Killeen mentioned. The college’s so-called positivity fee, or the proportion of checks which might be constructive, stays under 1%. 

“It’s going really well,” Killeen mentioned. “We don’t like this virus. We want to crush it, and that’s what we’re doing, and we’re doing it on a massive scale.” 

Killeen added that the college is assured within the accuracy of its saliva take a look at, although there could also be “a few negative” instances that had been really constructive. When somebody checks constructive, they’re remoted and their shut contacts are notified by way of an app and despatched to quarantine as properly.  

“The key is time, because if we give the virus no time to spread from an infected individual to others, we can stop its transmission,” he mentioned.

Some universities have been overwhelmed with coronavirus instances inside their first few weeks of reopening. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was compelled to transfer instruction on-line after outbreaks despatched its positivity fee above 13% and harassed its area for college kids to quarantine. 

The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, nearly confronted an analogous destiny, halting in-person courses for 2 weeks earlier than deciding on Friday to permit college students to return to class as soon as its positivity fee declined from above 10% to practically 6%. 

“We think we have a unique ecosystem of safety and containment that I think is very interesting for others to look at,” Killeen mentioned. “This is what I think we need to do to really attack this virus and not just watch it develop.” 

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