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Performer Mayyadda singing at the University of Minnesota Juneteenth Celebration “We Are The Noise: The Echoes of Our Ancestors” captured on Saturday, June 15.
Best photos of June '24
Published June 23, 2024

Boynton expands COVID-19 testing on campus, moves testing location to RecWell

The testing facilities for students, faculty and staff will now be located in the Recreation and Wellness Center.
Image by Audrey Rauth
A ground sticker located in front of Boynton Health’s COVID-19 testing center on Wednesday, Sep. 16. The testing facility is a small tent located outside the main entrance of Boynton.

Boynton Health is expanding their COVID-19 testing capabilities, as medical professionals anticipate an increased need for testing on campus.

Testing stations, originally located in tents with walk up windows outside of Boynton, will now be located in the University’s Recreation and Wellness Center. This new location will allow for four different testing stations to operate at once, as opposed to the singular station currently located at Boynton.

These new facilities are estimated to begin operating in two weeks.

“We think demand is eventually going to increase for more testing for people with symptoms and exposures, and medical residents or people that need to travel, like international students that need to go home,” said Boynton’s public health and communications director, Dave Golden. “We think that’s going to greatly increase to the point where we need more space.”

Over the past several weeks, Boynton has been performing approximately 30 COVID-19 tests a day, but recently, this number has jumped to over 80. When all stations are running, Boynton will have the capacity to perform 300 to 400 tests a day, said Jennifer Krzmarzick, interim chief medical officer at Boynton.

This testing expansion is part of the University’s MTest program, announced by President Joan Gabel in July. However, this expansion differs from the new supplemental testing program that will be offered by the University through Vault Health, which will provide each student with a saliva test to use when they choose.

Boynton will continue to offer testing to those who display COVID-19 symptoms, although many students not displaying symptoms have reportedly been tested.

The RecWell meets several criteria that make it an optimal location for testing, Golden said. These criteria include good air circulation, square footage needs, storage space and clear entrances and exits. The testing stations will be located on the racquet ball courts.

Changing weather conditions also encouraged the University to relocate their testing facilities.

“We have an outside window with a tent, and we keep that window open the whole time, and if it’s 20 degrees, that’s not going to work. And so we need people in a warmer space,” Krzmarzick said.

In order to keep up with the expanded capacity for testing, Boynton is in the process of hiring approximately 30 new employees to perform various roles in the testing process. Boynton has also placed additional supply orders to accommodate increased testing.

“We hire these extra people, and then we deploy them as the demand grows. So we’re not caught off guard without having staff,” Krzmarzik said.

The expanded program will continue to offer tests at no out-of-pocket cost to students. The billing process differs for staff and faculty depending on their primary medical provider.

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