Pitt faculty, staff to have access to mail-in COVID-19 tests beginning Monday

By Martha Layne, Assistant News Editor

Pitt faculty and staff received an email from the University’s COVID-19 Medical Response Office on Thursday afternoon outlining a new COVID-19 testing program through Quest Diagnostics as well as a vaccine and daily health check app update.

After interest in surveillance COVID-19 testing of faculty and staff, the University has partnered with Quest Diagnostics to provide mail-in tests under certain criteria. Eligibility is based on if the person has had close contact — within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes — with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, works in an area with a localized outbreak or travelled outside of their residential area for either work or personal reasons. Anyone who orders a test, which will be available beginning Monday and are only for asymptomatic individuals, must also quarantine.

The University said it is not providing surveillance COVID-19 testing for faculty and staff because based on the fall semester they believe doing so would provide “an incomplete snapshot” of the virus activity on campus and in surrounding communities. 

Pitt’s daily online health check, which was previously mandatory for all staff and faculty before entering a University building or facility, will no longer be required starting Monday. The email said this change comes after research indicating that the daily health check-ins did not reduce virus spread. Some University offices may still require this check-in to be completed, and all students and staff who are in isolation are required to complete the app.

Thermal temperature scanners are still located at building entrances, and swipe access is still required. The CMRO said it encourages faculty and staff to continue mask wearing, social distancing and frequent hand washing.