UT to launch mobile COVID-19 testing in student-concentrated areas


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas plans to bring COVID-19 testing to its students where they live.

The goal is to make testing more accessible to students, many who live in Austin but are taking classes virtually. Testing is limited to UT students, faculty and staff, but the university says it is also trying to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the greater Austin community.

“It’s important to us as a member of the community that we closely monitor whether we’re having an impact on the community,” said Dr. Amy Young, Chief Clinical Officer at UT Health Austin.

Mobile test sites are being requested in the West Campus, Mueller, Riverside, Hancock and Far West neighborhoods, according to Austin City Council documents. The council will vote next week whether to allow the university to put the sites in Austin’s parks or the area outside its libraries.

The mobile testing sites will operate on a rotating schedule, with the initial goal of being in each neighborhood about every two to three weeks, the documents say. The testing is expected to start on Feb. 1 and continue for six months.

The university has discussed the idea of mobile testing sites since the beginning of the pandemic, Young said. She added getting operations up and going has been a “monumental” task.

Young said the school is still figuring out other logistics, such as its testing capacity.

Council agenda documents say the university will promote the events to students and employees in advance of the testing days. The documents say the university will provide Austin Public Health information it collects when administering COVID-19 tests for contact tracing and other public health purposes.

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