Testing and Contact Tracing

Testing Program

Regular testing of the GV community is a critical part of the work of the Virus Action Team to control the spread of COVID-19 on campus, mitigating risk. Funded by GVSU, testing began in late August 2020 and will continue until it is no longer needed. Purposes of the program include: 1) to identify individuals who are infected so that we can provide them support, isolate positive individuals, and identify others who need to be quarantined; 2) to monitor and anticipate the spread of COVID-10 on campus, including in comparison to the spread in Ottawa and Kent counties.

Surveillance Testing:  Invitations are sent out weekly to selected members of the GV community, with a link to make an appointment for testing.  Current information on how the invitation lists are created and where testing occurs can be found on the testing calendar page.  Data related to our testing program can be found on the GVSU's data dashboard.

Symptomatic and Exposure Testing: Beginning March 8, 2020 the GVSU Symptomatic or Exposure test site will be located at 10830 North Campus Drive, between Fresh Food Co. and Manitou Hall, in the Mackinac Hall courtyard.

The Symptomatic or Exposure test site is open by appointment for the following hours:

Monday – Thursday            11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Friday                                    9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Appointments are required. Please complete your GVSU self-assessment to report your symptoms and/or exposure.  The link to schedule an appointment will be provided on the final screen.

Non-GVSU testing: Contact your health care provider about testing. If they do not conduct screening tests, you can consult the State of Michigan testing site finder or find a testing site in Ottawa County. GVSU does not pay for testing that is not performed or facilitated by GVSU.

Testing Overview

 

As described by the CDC, "Viral tests check samples from your respiratory system, such as a swab from the inside of your nose, to see if you are currently infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19."

The Virus Action Team is administering, or overseeing the administration of, a variety of testing plans for the GVSU community:

Symptomatic/Exposure: People with symptoms or an exposure to a known case of COVID-19 should report this on their daily self-assessment, and seek testing at the GVSU Symptomatic or Exposure test site located at the 10830 North Campus Drive, between Fresh Food Co. and Manitou Hall, in the Mackinac Hall courtyard.

The clinic is open for select hours Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Appointments are required. Complete your GVSU self-assessment to report your symptoms and/or exposure.  The link to schedule an appointment will be provided on the final screen.

More options can be found at the testing locations listed below.

  • Ongoing testing of high-risk groups:  Groups at higher-risk of infection - such as athletes, resident assistants and critical personnel - will be tested regularly. See the Testing Calendar.
  • Surveillance testing: To estimate the true prevalence of COVID-19 in our community, surveillance testing of students, faculty, and staff began the week of August 24th and will continue throughout the semester.  Participants will be selected randomly, and participation is voluntary. See the Testing Calendar.

For more information see the items below:

Availability and Costs of Testing

At this time, testing is readily available in Michigan. Testing is conducted for three primary reasons: symptoms, exposure or screening for people without symptoms (asymptomatic). Most, if not all, health insurance companies will pay for COVID-19 tests, waiving co-pays and deductibles, if the individual has symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19 OR if they have been exposed (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer) to someone with diagnosed or presumed COVID-19. Screening tests for those who neither have symptoms, nor have had exposure to someone infected, are generally not covered by insurance.

When an individual completes the GVSU self-assessment and reports symptoms that may be related to COVID-19, or an exposure, they will be directed to seek testing at the GVSU Symptomatic or Exposure Test Site located at 10830 North Campus Drive, between Fresh Food Co. and Manitou Hall, in the Mackinac Hall courtyard. The clinic is open for select hours Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Appointments are required. Complete your GVSU self-assessment to report your symptoms and/or exposure. The link to schedule an appointment will be provided on the final screen.

Initial testing is completed using an antigen test, which provides results in approximately an hour. If a confirmatory test is needed, GVSU will facilitate and the test will either be billed to your insurance company, or to GVSU.

If individuals prefer to arrange for testing through their health care provider, they may do so. Please report test results on your self-assessment. GVSU will not cover the cost of testing that is not performed or arranged by GVSU.  

If individuals do not have a medical provider, and feel that they need to be seen for their symptoms or other health care needs, you may contact either of the two university sites listed below, or call the GVSU COVID Resource Center at 833-734-0020.

Individuals, or their insurance company, are responsible for the cost health care services.

  • Spectrum Health

Non-GVSU Testing

You may contact your health care provider to inquire about testing. If they do not conduct screening tests, you can consult the State of Michigan testing site finder or find a testing site in Ottawa County. That State of Michigan page includes these filters: “no cost”; “people without symptoms (asymptomatic)”; “no doctor’s order needed”; and “tests uninsured individuals”.

An Introduction to COVID-19 Testing

Testing Locations

Overview

GVSU has four locations for COVID-19 testing.  All testing locations require an appointment. Locations and details located below.

The GVSU Surveillance Testing Program is for people who do not have symptoms, have not had direct exposure to someone with COVID, or have not recently returned from travel (domestic or international).

Those eligible will receive an email with a link to schedule an appointment and additional details.  There is no cost for participating in this surveillance testing program.

Allendale Campus: Thornapple Room in the Kirkhof Center.    

Pew Grand Rapids Campus: DEV 105E. 

An appointment for testing is required and can be made using the link in the invitation e-mail.

  • Location: The GVSU COVID Symptomatic and Exposure Test Site - by Fresh Food in Mackinac Hall courtyard.
  • Hours:   
  • Monday - Thursday            11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Friday                                    9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    Appointments are required. Complete your GVSU self-assessment to report your symptoms and/or exposure. The link to schedule an appointment will be provided on the final screen

  • This site will not accommodate surveillance screening. Students, faculty and staff selected for surveillance screening should read their invitation for testing times and locations.
  • There is no out of pocket cost for tests conducted at the GVSU Symptomatic and Exposure Test Site.
  • Location: The GVSU/Metro Health Campus Health Center is located on GVSU's Allendale campus, on 42nd Avenue across from the water tower, just south of Laker Village 
  • Hours: For up-to-date hours, visit www.gvsu.edu/campushealth
  • Call their office for an appointment (616) 252-6030.  View participating insurances here
  • Call their office to learn about participating insurances and potential costs before you visit.
  • Location: The GVSU Family Health Center is located at 72 Sheldon Blvd SE in Grand Rapids.
  • Hours: For up-to-date hours, visit www.gvsu.edu/fhc/ 
  • Call their office for appointments at (616) 331-9830.  View participating insurances here.
  • Call their office to learn about participating insurances and potential costs or copays before you visit.

GVSU SYMPTOMATIC/EXPOSED COVID TESTING LOCATION

Spectrum Symptomatic Testing Location

By Appointment Only


Testing FAQ

There are several reasons. (1) To help determine the extent to which COVID-19 is present in the GV community. (2) To be able to compare the percentage of positive tests in the GV community with statistics from the broader community. (3) To support individuals who test positive. (4) To evaluate the results against actionable benchmarks.

Everyone in the GVSU community is required to complete the daily COVID-19 Risk Self-Assessment. Testing will be required when the assessment reflects symptoms of COVID-19, exposure to COVID-19 or travel (international or domestic).  In addition, groups have been identified that are of higher risk to be exposed to the virus and/or most likely to spread it.  Those groups are being tested as needed.  Finally, beginning fall semester, GVSU will implement random testing of asymptomatic GVSU community members (so-called “surveillance testing”), on a voluntary basis, as part of our monitoring efforts and to reduce the possibility of “super spreader events”.

Yes. Random surveillance testing will be voluntary. We cannot force an individual to be tested, but greater participation rates will produce more reliable and significant results to contribute to improved public health decision making.

Grand Valley's testing program involves

  • Self-administered "anterior nares" swabs. 
  • Antigen tests, which are immunoassays that detect the presence of the virus to check for current infection.
  • Ability to provide results in approximately one hour.  

Protocols require some antigen test results to be confirmed using a PCR test, i "real-time polymerase chain reaction" (RT-PCR) analysis. . When confirmatory PCR tests are required, the specimen will be obtained by GVSU and sent to the lab.

There will be no out of pocket costs for test conducted through the GVSU Testing Program.  Surveillance testing will take place in a different location from the Symptomatic/Exposure testing. We don’t want individuals to fear getting infected because they were tapped to be tested.

It depends on the situation:

  • For those with a GVSU-sponsored medical plan, those plans cover testing and related fees (processing/reading the tests) at 100%,.  If a COVID-19 test of any kind is ordered by a medical provider that is medically necessary, your member cost share (co-pays, coinsurance or deductibles) for this test will be waived.
    • The test must be ordered by a medical provider for your health plan to cover the costs of the test.
    • Your plan will cover the cost of the test as described above, whether the provider is in or out of network.
    • If you are experiencing symptoms, first speak to your health care provider to help you understand if you need testing and how to receive it.
    • Medically necessary is determined and appropriately coded by your ordering provider.
    • Medically necessary does not include tests as a condition of employment or returning to work.
  • When a GVSU employee or student does not pass the GVSU self-assessment due to symptoms and/or exposure, they will be directed to seek testing via the GVSU Symptomatic or Exposure Test Site. GVSU pays for those tests.
  • For those selected through our selected testing or random testing programs, GVSU will pay for those tests.
  • Individuals may also choose to seek testing through their health care provider.  GVSU does not pay for this testing.
  • Individuals who seek testing outside of the GVSU Testing Program will need to pay out-of-pocket or find a no-cost site.  The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHSS) website has locations that will test individuals who do not meet the criteria for medical necessary testing.

Although there is no out of pocket costs for testing conducted at GVSU, individuals who contract COVID-19 may incur other medical expenses.  Students who are uninsured are encouraged to discuss their situation with the billing office at the medical practice, which may have recommendations for coverage. One option might be the GVSU student plan through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

  • At this time, we do not know if someone can be re-infected with COVID-19.  According to the CDC, a person who has had and recovered from COVID-19 may have low levels of virus in their bodies for up to 3 months after diagnosis. This means that if you recovered from COVID-19 and are retested within 3 months of your initial infection, you may continue to have a positive test result, even though you are not spreading COVID-19.  If you were tested and have not reported your results on your self-assessment, please do so.  You will be removed from the randomized testing program for the duration of 90 days from your original positive test.
  • Do you have new symptoms? If you recovered from COVID-19 and now have new symptoms of COVID-19, you may need an evaluation for reinfection, especially if you had close contact with someone infected with COVID-19.  You should isolate and contact a healthcare provider to be evaluated for other causes of their symptoms, and possibly retested. 

Yes, we will be notifying instructors. The student should work with their instructors to ensure academic continuity.


Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is the process of quickly identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent additional transmission.  The government of the State of Michigan has published information about contact tracing in the State.

As required, all positive tests are reported to county health departments. Grand Valley has a close working relationship with Ottawa and Kent county health departments and conducts contact tracing for all members of the GVSU community.

The GVSU COVID Assessment Team is a team of nurses that conducts contact tracing and provides education regarding quarantine and isolation. The team contacts individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, provides information on isolation, and asks about close contact during the period when they were contagious. While maintaining the confidentiality of the person who has tested positive, the contacts are then informed of the exposure, and the need to quarantine.

The COVID Assessment Team also issues letters indicating when criteria has been met to end isolation or quarantine. Information from the GVSU self-assessment is needed in order to provide these letters in a timely manner.  

Spectrum Health provides follow-up with employees and students who are in quarantine (been exposed to someone positive) or in isolation following a positive test. This follow up is done via a daily text message that includes information regarding the GVSU Spectrum Health COVID Resource Line, and the ability to speak with a nurse 24/7 regarding any COVID symptoms or concerns.

What is Contact Tracing?


Contact Tracing FAQ


COVID Exposure Apps for Mobile Devices

MI COVID Alert App

Protect yourself and your community by stopping the spread of COVID-19. Download the app and get notifications if you may have been exposed to the virus.  

MI COVID Alert App

GVSU students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to download the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) COVID-19 exposure notification app.  Use of this app is voluntary and no personal identifiers are stored.  The app uses anonymous tokens via Bluetooth with other nearby MI COVID alert users.  If you have been near someone who tests positive for COVID-19 within a ten day period, you would be notified by the app.   This is a free app for your cell phone and will help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan.   Learn more about the MI COVID Alert app.


This page is maintained by GVSU's Virus Action Team (VAT). Navigate to the other VAT-administered pages using the buttons above. For questions, concerns, or to report a non-emergency health/safety issue, email us at virusactionteam@gvsu.edu.  For general questions contact the Lakers Together Call Center: (616) 331-INFO (4636). For personal health questions, call the 24/7 GVSU COVID Health Line (833) 734-0020.