The University of Pittsburgh has partnered with Quest to offer optional, unobserved self-collected PCR tests to all students at the end of this term. Pitt will cover the cost of one SARS-CoV-2 PCR test per student, if ordered between Nov. 16 - 30, 2020.
Here’s What to Expect
Students who opt for testing will click the link above to create a MyQuest account and order a free test kit to be delivered to their preferred home address.
FedEx will deliver test kits to students within 2-4 days.
Students should plan to use their test kit to self-collect a sample as soon as they arrive home, and then complete the remainder of their shelter-in-place requirements—including a minimum of four days at home—before interacting with any new close contacts.
After using the test kit, students will send their sample to a Quest laboratory via FedEx.
Once Quest receives a sample, the current turnaround time for results is 2-3 days. Increased testing volume tied to the holidays may extend this wait.
Students will be notified when their results are available through their MyQuest account. Pitt’s Student Health Service will also receive the results and share with regional campus student health offices as necessary.
If a student tests negative for COVID-19, this is not sufficient evidence to end a shelter-in-place period early.
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they should immediately isolate from anyone in their household and seek medical care as appropriate. Pitt’s Student Health Service and the local county health department may contact each of these students to learn more about close contacts and inform them of potential exposure.
Students should not use these tests in hopes of a receiving a negative result so that they can end their shelter-in-place period early.
All students—regardless of their test results from Quest—must complete their full 14-day shelter-in-place.
While a positive COVID-19 test indicates that that a person is definitely infected, a negative test DOES NOT mean a person is not infected.
Testing is a useful tool for identifying asymptomatic positive cases. On the other hand, it also creates a dangerous false sense of security. A negative result indicates that, at the moment a student collected their sample, SARS-CoV-2 was not detected in their system. It is still possible that this individual was—and still is—carrying the virus at lower levels and could be at risk of spreading it to others. This window of false negative testing usually occurs for 4-5 days after a person becomes infected.
In reality, test results are a snapshot of one brief moment in time. Sheltering in place for 14 days before making new close contacts is the safest way to prevent spreading the virus.