As the omicron variant continues to infect Utahns, at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to testing becomes a more valuable asset for Salt Lake Community College students.
SLCC offers COVID-19 testing for students and staff at the college on a limited basis. Testing is available one day per week at four campuses. Testing locations can be found through SLCC’s online appointment booking tool.
Individuals can only be tested once every 14 days to help ensure everyone has access, if needed. In order to protect others on campus, COVID-19 testing is only available for people who are not currently showing symptoms.
Rapid-antigen tests are the tests administered through the college. Students and faculty receive the test results via email approximately 15 minutes after being tested.
Eduardo Delgado, a business major at SLCC, said the limitations on testing can frustrate students like himself, who are on campus nearly every day.
“What if I get tested on a Monday and then someone in my class tests positive two days later? What am I supposed to do then? I really don’t want to pay for a test,” he said.
To increase access to COVID-19 testing, the federal government recently began offering free at-home test kits.
How SLCC compares to Salt Lake City
Since Jan. 10, there have been 703 reported cases of COVID-19 at SLCC. SLCC counts 62,000 people in its community, which means the positive test rate is slightly over 1%.
The percentage fares well in comparison to Salt Lake City, which has averaged just under 4% of positive tests among its population in a similar time period.
Kevin Smith, a general studies major at SLCC, said he was relieved that case numbers appeared to be lower at school.
“I thought it’d be higher, with all the news about how fast [omicron] is spreading,” he said.
Lower numbers of positive tests may be occurring because SLCC’s testing protocols require test subjects to be asymptomatic. Those who are showing symptoms and wish to be tested can either use an at-home kit or use the state’s testing website to find a facility near them.