A WVU student is administered a COVID-19 test by University personnel in the Mountainlair ballrooms on August 21, 2020.

A WVU student is administered a COVID-19 test by University personnel in the Mountainlair ballrooms on August 21, 2020.

After being tested for COVID-19, Curtis Ward waited 21 days to receive his results.  

“It’s a good thing that we are being tested, but even asking people to come back is in and of itself bad,” said Ward, a senior management information systems student. “I think the University is putting its students at risk and Mon. County at risk by introducing out-of-state students.”

Ward said he communicated with Shared Services for more than a week before finding out that he had tested negative.

Ward is one of several students who had to wait several days or even weeks to find out if they had tested positive or negative for coronavirus. Kayla Starcher, a senior journalism student, was told that she could expect a 10-14 day wait for her results. 

“It’s almost, with that slow of a turn around, counterintuitive, as it gives you a false sense of security,” Starcher said. “Honestly, I do not think that it was very useful.”

Starcher said during the wait time, she had to travel back and forth between Morgantown and Charleston for an internship. While still following health and safety guidelines, she said in that time someone could have contracted it if she had coronavirus without knowing it.

Mary Kefferstan, a graduate student studying counseling, was not able to access her results until after 20 days.

“It was just extremely frustrating because I personally don't think it’s safe to have students back on campus and just the fact that they are making us jump through all of these hoops to wade through for something that probably shouldn’t even happen in the first place,” said Kefferstan. 

With more than 20,000 people needing to be tested from the University community, Kefferstan said she never expected it to go smoothly.

“We have not seen, in general, that kind of delay – the average turnaround has been 3-5 days,” said April Kaull, executive director of communications for University Relations.

Kaull said that anyone who does not see their results on MyQuest should then call Shared Services at 304-293-6006 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in order to help get access to their information.

Students should be using their MIX email and the address and phone number on file at the University with their MyQuest account, as this is the most prominent issue WVU has seen when it comes to accessing results, according to Kaull.

 “Out of nearly 24,000 students and employees tested in a broad baseline approach between July 20 and August 22, we've discovered 152 positive cases, representing a less than 1% total positivity rate,” said Dr. Carmen Burrell, medical director of WVU Medicine Urgent Care and Student Health Services, in a statement to the Daily Athenaeum via email.

Each test costs $85 per client, according to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request detailing any agreement and any financial exchange between West Virginia University and Quest Diagnostics, resulting in more than $2.2 million being spent so far on testing across the Morgantown, Keyser and Beckley campuses.

Burrell said there will be more positive cases throughout the semester, although if the University community continues to do their part by wearing a mask, socially distancing and cleaning public spaces, the rate of infection should remain low.

It will be concerning if we see the total positivity rate of the University or community begin to climb beyond the baseline daily and weekly totals, according to Burrell. The University will continue to test and monitor students and faculty throughout the semester.

“The baseline testing has enabled us to identify and assist those who test positive for the virus and to enact the contact tracing process that helps minimize exposure and risk to others,” Burrell said. “We will continue to test, monitor and isolate those who test positive.”