Hamre Center Test Protocols and Response
Testing is an important part of a comprehensive, layered public health plan to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on our campus, along with measures like physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and good health habits. Macalester College has established a comprehensive plan that supports students as they return to campus this fall. Details can be found at macalester.edu/covid-19. The plan includes specific information about isolation and quarantine.
Note – the testing described below does not include the asymptomatic screening testing that is required by the College.
Testing for Students – Hamre Center
Testing priorities may change–we will continue to follow MDH guidelines on COVID testing. At this time:
- Those who are symptomatic; the Macalester symptom checker (CampusClear) can help you remember potential symptoms.
- Those who have had exposure—defined as being in close proximity (less than six feet away) for 15 minutes or more—to someone with a confirmed positive COVID-19 test. You should get tested 5-7 days after exposure. Too soon and the test may not be accurate.
- Those who have participated in “high-risk situations” (see MDH link above); includes large group gatherings with limited physical distancing. You should be tested 5-7 days after that possible exposure.
- Students should call the Hamre Center (651-696-6275), or other trusted testing facilities. Testing at the Hamre Center is available to enrolled students when clinically recommended. It is available 7 days a week at this time.
- For information on weekend testing, please see this webpage.
- COVID-19 tests in the Hamre Center will have a charge, like any other lab service. However, COVID-19 should be covered by your insurance without any cost-sharing (deductible, co-pay), according to the CARES Act. No student will be denied access to testing due to financial reasons. Students who have Macalester-offered health insurance (United Healthcare Student Resources) will not see a charge on their Macalester account as the charge is submitted directly to UHCSR by the Hamre Center; all other students will see a charge on their Macalester account and will be provided with a statement and general instructions on how to submit for reimbursement from their insurance company.
- The primary test being offered is a molecular test, also called a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. It is used to determine if you have the virus that causes COVID-19. If a test is negative, that means there’s no sign of current infection.
- Macalester is exploring other testing methods as they become available, including rapid testing, but for now, the PCR test is considered the “gold standard” for diagnosis.
- Testing for COVID-19 involves inserting a swab (like a long Q-tip) into the cavity between the nose and mouth (nasal swab) for 15 seconds and rotating it several times. The swabbing is then repeated on the other side of the nose to make sure enough material is collected. The swab is then inserted into a container and sent to a lab for testing.
After this test, you should go to your room or off-campus home and stay in your room and self-isolate until your test results come back. Self-isolation is the term used for people who have symptoms, are waiting to be tested, or are waiting for their test results. If you were tested at the Hamre Center and are on a campus meal plan, the staff will notify the COVID Case Manager to work with you to arrange for meals.
On-Campus: If you are on campus, you should stay in your room. Please use the bathroom designed for quarantine/self-isolation, use the same stall and sink each time, wear a mask, and wipe down any surfaces you touch. Limit your time in the restroom and do not use any other common spaces.
Off-Campus: If you live off-campus, you should stay in your room and be sure to wear a mask when going to common areas of your house to get food and use the bathroom. Please disinfect any common surfaces after touching them (handles, doorknobs, etc.) Go ahead and notify your roommates you are self-isolating. That does not mean they need to do anything differently however, to be cautious, they should also wear a mask in common areas until your test results come back.
If prior to (or after) getting your test results back you need to set up a telehealth appointment with a Macalester provider, please call the Hamre Center at 651-696-6275 during weekday hours.
- An additional 24×7 immediate resource to discuss medical concerns is our NurseAccess line. They can be reached at 651-696-6275 – at the voice mail, select option #3.
Getting your test results
You will receive your test results within about 3-5 days. It is possible that results could take longer if there is a back-up in the community testing “pipeline”. If you have not received any notification after 5 days, please contact the Hamre Center.
- You will receive your negative test result (no COVID infection) via e-mail through the Hamre Center Medicat patient portal. No further action is required besides continuing to practice the Community Commitment. If you still have symptoms, please remain home until the symptoms are gone. You may also elect to make an appointment to talk to a health care provider in the Hamre Center (651-696-6275)
- If you test negative for COVID-19, you probably were not infected at the time your sample was collected. This does not mean you will not get sick:
- A negative test result only means that you did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing or that your sample was collected too early in your infection.
- You could also be exposed to COVID-19 after the test and then get infected and spread the virus to others.
- If you have symptoms later, you may need another test to determine if you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
- If you receive a negative test result but were tested because you were in contact with someone who has COVID-19, you still need to stay home for 14 days from your last contact with that person. This is because you still could become sick with COVID-19. It can take up to two weeks for a person who was exposed to COVID-19 to become sick, so if you were tested early after being exposed, the test may not have detected the virus yet.
- All students who have positive results will receive a phone notification from a Hamre Center medical provider.
- You will have several other people contacting you. Please expect and answer their calls. Note: many staff are working from home and may use their personal phones; expect a variety of area codes/numbers.
- Macalester health care provider: to assess your current health needs and to set up a daily medical needs check-in call that will take place Monday – Friday.
- Macalester COVID Case Manager – will initiate on-campus student moves to isolation and meal support and review support/resources for all students.
- Public Safety will contact on-campus students to arrange move to isolation.
- Minnesota Department of Health (MDH): a case manager will call to initiate contact tracing. Your call with the contact tracing team will be about who you have been in close contact (for at least 15 minutes and within 6 feet), beginning 2 days prior to the onset of your symptoms (if you had symptoms) or 2 days prior to testing (if you did not have any symptoms)
- Macalester Contact Tracing may contact you to support MDH contact tracing.
- If you are symptomatic, you should isolate for 10 days after symptoms first appear AND until you’ve gone 24 hours with no fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications).
- If you are asymptomatic (no symptoms), you should isolate for 10 days after the test.
- On-campus students will be moved to a designated room and support for obtaining meals will be provided.
- Students who do not live in college housing will need to make a plan in case they are instructed by public health officials or Macalester to isolate in their residence.
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19–and those who they were in close contact with–will be asked to participate in contact tracing.
- An interview with a public health official to learn of others who may have been exposed. COVID-19 is a reportable communicable disease.
- Students who come to the Hamre Center for testing will be directed to a form to list every person and situation where they have been in close proximity to – within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more – beginning two days prior to the onset of their symptoms. If asymptomatic (no symptoms), students should list everyone they have been in close contact with beginning two days prior to testing.
- If the test comes back positive, the student who tests positive will be notified by either the Minnesota Department of Health or a Macalester Contact Tracing team member and the student will provide that list of names. Names of people who test positive or who may have been exposed will not be released without permission.
- If the test is negative, the tested person and their potential contacts will not be contacted.
- Individuals who were exposed to a positive case will:
- quarantine for 14 days
- get tested 4-5 days after exposure
- monitor for symptoms
- Quarantined individuals may expect a call from the COVID Case Management team to assess what support is needed, including meals for on-campus students.
- The CARES Act requires health insurance companies to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing, with no cost-sharing required. That being said, if your situation is such that your testing isn’t covered, the Hamre Center will work with you to make sure you are still able to get tested.
- Only you, the Hamre Center, and the team members at Macalester that are providing you with support. This would include the COVID Case Manager or designate, Public Safety and Residential Life (if you are on campus), Disability Services offering temporary accommodations, and the Office of Student Affairs who oversees the Campus Response team. If you are an NCAA athlete, we will notify the certified athletic trainers. We will not notify your parents (unless you are under 18), your faculty or coaches, etc. The Minnesota Department of Health will receive notice of the positive test because COVID-19 is considered a reportable disease and they will need to follow-up with contact tracing. Your name will not be used in contact tracing (contacting your close contacts) unless you give permission.
- That be said, you may want to tell some people that you will be isolating – and advise any close contacts (those you have been within 6 ft. for 15 minutes or more beginning 2 days prior to the onset of your symptoms) to expect a contact tracing call, to begin quarantining, and to get tested 3-5 days after your first close contact. Encourage them to answer their phone calls!
- All students who are in isolation will be regularly contacted by a health care provider in the Hamre Center to check in on any health concerns. The COVID Case Manager is available to help isolated or quarantined students problem-solve any concerns you might have and connect you to resources. Disability Services can assist you with temporary accommodations for your academic work. You will be expected to provide your own meals if you are not on a meal plan; if you are on a meal plan, you can work with the COVID Case Manager to arrange for meal access.
- The Hamre Center offers telehealth appointments for both medical and counseling. Call 651-696-6275 to set up a time to talk with someone via zoom.
- “Press 2” is available 24/7 for mental health concerns. Call 651-696-6275 and select option 2 (during work hours, ask to be transferred to the counseling phone service).
- “NurseNow” is a new resource – it is a 24/7 medical advice phone service. Call 651-696-6275 and select option 3 (during work hours, ask to be transferred to the nurse line). Note: expected to be operational September 2.
- If you are experiencing a medical emergency or are concerned about your safety or the safety of others, on-campus students can call Public Safety at 651-696-6555. Public Safety will respond; MacEMS will also respond during scheduled shifts. Off-campus – or in the case of a life-threatening emergency – please call 9-1-1. It will be important to let the responders know that you are in isolation or quarantine so they can wear appropriate protective equipment.
- Quarantine – Yes, you can go outside for a walk and get fresh air. You should wear a face-covering when inside and if you are on a crowded sidewalk, etc. You should avoid going into public places. But a walk can do wonders for the body and mind!
- Self-Isolation – This is a maybe. If you are ill (not just waiting for test results), you should not be leaving your room. If you are in self-isolation while waiting for test results, use the same guidelines for quarantine.
- Isolation – You should stay put. You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are considered contagious (whether you have symptoms or not). So, make plans for a walk after you have been cleared from isolation. Need to get some body movement going? Check out Home Workouts from Mac Sports Performance on Instagram