Innovative SARS CoV2 Screening Pilot Project

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Colin Friesen holding his swab sample

Conrad Grebel University College has implemented many health and safety measures to ensure the wellness of everyone in the building during the current COVID-19 pandemic. One innovative measure is participation in a SARS CoV2 screening pilot project by EpiTOme Genetics – a lab that provides organizations with access to molecular techniques. EpiTOme, running an advanced Seegene Inc. PCR platform, is providing Grebel with regular SARS CoV2 screening for students and front-line staff.  The goal of the pilot project is to prove that organizations benefit from access to reliable molecular information in guiding their operations.

“We have been thrilled with a more than 90 percent participation rate of our students,” said Mary Brubaker-Zehr, Director of Students Services. After an initial screening in early September, participants were divided into 4 groups of 30 and each group is screened every two weeks. The sample collection is carried out by the participants and then delivered to a laboratory where the samples are tested. The results come back within hours, a fraction of the wait time provided by other facilities.Swab in packaging

“Grebel has added a layer of security to my work week,” mentioned Leanne MacKay Bain, the receptionist at Grebel, “I believe we are all more comfortable with the people we interact with daily because screening is happening regularly.”

Isobella McCloskey, a first-year resident said that Grebel’s participation in this project “reminds everyone, including myself, that we are each responsible for ourselves and share responsibility for others.” Participants are getting regular feedback on their status whether or not they have symptoms. Participants know they are not spreading SARS CoV2 around Grebel, campus, or elsewhere, and they are keeping others safe. In the same way, they will quickly know if they are positive, even if asymptomatic. The frequent screening and the fast result time decreases risk of participants spreading the virus elsewhere.

This pilot project also benefits the larger Waterloo community because Grebel participants are not backing up testing at other facilities. While the University of Waterloo Health services is offering testing on campus, it is restricted to those with symptoms. 

“The safety of each person in the building is our top priority,” said President Marcus Shantz, “and knowing that everybody is being tested, regardless of symptoms, gives me peace of mind.”

Paul Penner, director of operations at Grebel, added, "the pilot project provides Grebel with an extra layer of security, in addition to the other measures we are taking, like masking and social distancing.”

  1. 2020 (49)
    1. November (2)
    2. October (5)
    3. September (3)
    4. August (4)
    5. June (2)
    6. May (5)
    7. April (11)
    8. March (5)
    9. February (5)
    10. January (7)
  2. 2019 (19)
    1. December (1)
    2. November (2)
    3. October (1)
    4. September (6)
    5. July (1)
    6. June (1)
    7. May (3)
    8. April (2)
    9. March (1)
    10. February (1)
  3. 2018 (25)
    1. December (2)
    2. November (1)
    3. October (1)
    4. September (2)
    5. August (2)
    6. July (1)
    7. June (2)
    8. May (4)
    9. April (3)
    10. March (4)
    11. February (2)
    12. January (1)
  4. 2017 (26)
  5. 2016 (24)
  6. 2015 (31)
  7. 2014 (24)
  8. 2013 (25)
  9. 2012 (14)
  10. 2011 (25)
  11. 2010 (8)
  12. 2009 (14)
  13. 2008 (7)
  14. 2007 (13)
  15. 2006 (6)
  16. 2005 (11)
  17. 2004 (14)
  18. 2003 (4)