The University of Texas-Austin plans to test up to 5,000 people on campus each week for COVID-19 using "a strategic, scientific-based approach" that includes rapid results, contact tracing and community testing, officials said Tuesday.
The university is relying on in-house testing for faculty, students and staff to reduce the pressures on commercial labs in the community, according to an email from Interim President Jay Hartzell to the UT community.
The goal is to test at least 5,000 members of the campus community every week in order to contain the spread of the virus once school starts, he said.
Symptomatic students will get tests at University Health Services, which provides medical care and patient education to students. Faculty and staff will be tested at the UT Health Austin clinic at Dell Medical School.
"We will have the capacity to test hundreds of symptomatic students each day using in-house labs," Hartzell said. "Additionally, we have ordered three rapid testing machines that will allow for approximately 100 tests per day with a 15-minute turnaround time for results."
UT has enlisted the help of Dell Medical School and Austin Public Health to help with contact tracing for those who test positive for coronavirus.
School officials have also established the UT Proactive Community Testing Program to test asymptomatic individuals at no cost and monitor spread within the community.
"Our success as a university begins and ends with the health of our community," Hartzell said. "While we continue to pursue our teaching and research missions, we must also do our best to limit the presence of COVID-19 on the Forty Acres. This starts with robust and rigorous testing, but also includes our individual actions as community members and our adherence to vital requirements for self-quarantining, daily symptom screening, wearing face masks, hand hygiene, social distancing and other key safety measures."
- University of Texas at Austin will require masks in campus buildings ... ›
- Texas A&M, University of Texas systems expect to reopen in the fall ... ›
- UT Austin students gathered without masks get blasted on social media, university responds - austonia ›
- 2 UT Austin dorm residents test positive for COVID-19 - austonia ›
- UT Austin reports 72 student COVID cases after first week - austonia ›
- UT Austin reports three West Campus COVID clusters - austonia ›
- San Marcos favorite Industry Burger opens "mid-October" on E. 5th, featuring "low key healthy" Texas fare.
- Still Austin Whiskey Co. introduces "The Artist," its new rye whiskey.
- Domain NORTHSIDE favorites Bakery Lorraine, Grimaldi's Pizzeria, Jeni's Ice Cream and Sprinkles released their fall flavors.
- Cinnaholic at The Arboretum opens Friday, October 14, serving "create your own" cinnamon rolls and other sweet treats.
- San Francisco's Marufuku Ramen opens next Wednesday, October 12, in the Mueller District.
- Carpenter Hotel announces its popup food truck, Lil Carpenter, open Fri-Sun both ACL weekends, serving what you want, early to late, coffee to donuts, to dogs/burgers/fries/beer.
With major entertainment events slated for October, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is gearing up for a busy month.
Artists and music lovers are set to pack into Zilker Park for The Austin City Limits Music Festival in the coming two weekends. Following that, Formula One will bring racing fans to the Circuit of the Americas.
For those two events, the airport is anticipating high passenger days with 30,000 or more people departing flights.
ABIA recommends arriving at least two and a half hours in advance for domestic flights on those days. For ACL, it's expected on both Sundays of the festival along with the Monday and Tuesday after. The F1-driven high passenger days are expected on Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 23-26.
\u201c#AustinCityLimits visitors, you\u2019re in for a weird and wild ride \ud83e\udd18\u262e\ufe0f \n\nFlying in or out of our airport? We got firm and fun tips for you: https://t.co/RawVRalOXN\u201d— Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) (@Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)) 1664894083
F1, especially, could draw in loads of travelers as the three-day event saw 400,000 attendees last year. ABIA warns that highways leading to the airport may see even higher traffic than usual around the event and that travelers should plan their route accordingly.
Bailey Grimmett, a spokesperson for ABIA, said travel numbers come in 24 hours in advance. So, it's hard to predict if the airport will see travel volumes at the same levels that have happened around previous F1 races or if it'll top ACL's flight traffic.
Still, she says historical knowledge points to a chance for it.
“We've had that Monday after F1 break the record for single busiest in airport history," Grimmett said. "So context clues I would say yes, but I can't confirm that. But the historical background points to that."
In anticipation of the high volume of flyers, the airport received additional TSA officers for security screening through the end of October. To prepare even further, the Department of Aviation and partners hosted a job showcase and hiring fair to address the continued labor shortage the airport has experienced.
Relief from hectic travel days is on the horizon with November likely to see a slowdown.
"I don't anticipate it will be as busy as October just because we don't have as many events going on," Grimmett said. "Thanksgiving is kind of our primary holiday that we see a lot of passengers coming in and out of the airport."