""UAB is prioritizing testing for employees by offering three different testing structures to assess the spread of COVID-19:

  • Anyone experiencing symptoms or who have been exposed to COVID-19 will have access to physicians through Employee Health Services. We encourage you to use UAB Healthcheck to monitor symptoms and exposure for a quick response to Employee Health.
  • COVID-19 campus entry testing will be offered to faculty and university staff coming to campus in August, but it is not required.
  • UAB employees will be randomly selected to voluntarily participate in COVID-19 testing after they are on campus, called Sentinel Testing.

How to Get Tested

UAB Employee Health will offer testing for providers and staff exhibiting possible COVID-19 symptoms. If an employee has been exposed to the virus, or if that employee has fever or symptoms that make them concerned they may have the virus, they should report symptoms and exposure via UAB Healthcheck.

Faculty and Staff experiencing symptoms or who have been exposed:

UAB employees (faculty, staff, and hospital) should first report COVID-19 symptoms and exposure via UAB Healthcheck. Employees reporting symptoms and/or exposure in Healthcheck will receive a phone call from UAB Employee Health to set up testing.

UAB Medicine employees experiencing symptoms or who have been exposed:

UAB Medicine employees who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must complete the mandatory Employee Health Symptom and Exposure form available here or on oneuabmedicine.org/coronavirus.

Recommendations for potential exposure or those showing symptoms:

If you get sick with fever, cough, or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are very mild), you likely have COVID-19. You should isolate yourself at home and away from other people. If you have any of the following conditions that may increase your risk for a serious infection—age 60 years or older, are pregnant, or have medical conditions—contact your physician’s office and tell them that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. They may want to monitor your health more closely or test you for COVID-19.

If you do not have a high-risk condition but want medical advice, call your healthcare provider or Employee Health and tell them you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if you need to be evaluated in person.

If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you may have been exposed to COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before emergency medical services arrive or immediately after they arrive.

Campus Entry Testing

VOLUNTARY FOR EMPLOYEES

To promote health and safety on campus as part of our comprehensive entry planning, all UAB employees (faculty, staff, and UAB Medicine employees) coming to campus for the fall semester will have the opportunity to receive a free COVID-19 test. Throughout the semester, random, voluntary sentinel testing will be provided to some employees to help identify trends and potential problem areas.

Employee Campus Entry Testing

COVID-19 campus entry testing will be offered to faculty and university staff coming to campus in August, but it is not required. Campus entry testing is a self-administered nostril swab, not the nasopharyngeal swab. Please read the following guidance:

  • University faculty and staff who are working remotely will not participate in this campus entry testing and are not included in the randomized list for sentinel testing.
  • University faculty and staff who are already on campus (prior to August) and who do not have COVID-19 symptoms are included in the sentinel testing process and will not participate in campus entry testing.

UAB Medicine Employees Entry Testing

Please review the following testing guidelines for UAB Medicine employees:

  • UAB Medicine employees who are already working on campus and who do not have COVID-19 symptoms are included in the sentinel testing process and will not participate in campus entry testing.
  • UAB Medicine employees who are working remotely may be included in the randomized selection for sentinel testing. Participation is not mandatory but is strongly encouraged.

We anticipate the test will likely be a swab in the nostril — though not the more invasive nasopharyngeal swab.

Our ability to offer testing to employees for campus entry will go a long way in helping us maintain a safe environment. On our campus, testing will supplement other strategies to maintain a safe environment, like the GuideSafe™ platform that includes UAB Healthcheck, our COVID-19 assessment tool. UAB is also developing a voluntary exposure notification app powered by Apple and Google that we look forward to rolling out in the coming weeks.

If You or Your Students/Employees Have Tested Positive

  • Verify that Student Health Services/Employee Health is notified. If using the Exposure Notification Application, report your positive result so that others who have been in close contact can receive an anonymous report.
  • Information will be collected to identify and anonymously notify close contacts with others.
  • Individuals testing positive should not attend face-to-face classes or clinical activities, engage in social activities, or report to work. If a student/employee cannot attend class/work, they should contact the instructor/supervisor.
  • Individuals testing positive must self-isolate. Apartments have been designated for isolation to residential students. Faculty, staff, and off-campus students must self-isolate in their personal residences for at least 10 days. Student Health Services/Employee Health must clear students/employees before they can return to campus.
  • Ask your department to contact building services (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) so they can determine whether enhanced cleaning of affected workspaces and/or communal areas is necessary only for a positive COVID-19 test result.
  • Even if a positive employee/student has self-disclosed to others, supervisors should not confirm or discuss the identity of a positive employee/student. Supervisors can inform their department that close contacts have already been notified and that if they were not individually contacted, then they are not considered close contacts.

Sentinel Testing

As UAB and UAB Medicine unite faculty, staff, and students on campus, we prioritize the health and safety of each individual. We are adopting sentinel testing across the full campus, both academic and medical. Random testing of a percentage of our population on a weekly basis will provide a snapshot of how much of the COVID-19 virus is circulating among our population.

Testing is voluntary. But, we hope that you will help us in the fight against this virus so that we can continue to put measures in place to keep you safe.

Sentinel Testing: What is the process?

  • Each week, 2.5% to 5% of those on campus will be randomly selected for COVID-19 testing. Employees who are randomly selected will be notified via email by Employee Health.
  • You will receive a specific time frame to go to Employee Health for testing in the email, should you choose to participate. The email will contain information on where to get tested.
  • Once you arrive, present your email to confirm testing need.
  • The test consists of an observed nasal self-swab that will be processed in an on-campus lab. Someone from Employee Health will observe each self-test to ensure accuracy and provide coaching if needed.
  • Those being tested will be contacted within 36 hours with results.
  • If you test negative for COVID-19, you will receive results via email within 36 hours of testing.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you will receive a call from one of the physicians working with Employee Health to give you the next steps on how to protect yourself and others around you.
  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 12 weeks, please opt-out of sentinel testing.
  • If you have not received a positive diagnosis, we ask that you participate in UAB's sentinel testing.

Cluster Testing

UA System campuses will immediately respond to any suspected increase in COVID-19 exposures in a specific campus location or an identified group of individuals (a “cluster”). Clusters will be identified by increases in reported positive tests or COVID-related symptoms, as identified by campus healthcare professionals reviewing Healthcheck and other campus metrics.

Testing FAQs

Will the test hurt?

No. The test consists of a self-swab just inside the nose that is painless.

What do I do if I test positive, but do not show symptoms?

Self isolate for 14 days if you test positive, but are not showing symptoms to help protect others in the community.

What do I do if I get sick?

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspected to have COVID-19 because you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, follow these steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community. You should quarantine or self-isolate for 14 days or until you are symptom free for 72 hours, which ever comes last.

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people.
  • Wear a mask or face covering.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday

When should I seek emergency medical attention?

Look for warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek medical care and immediately call 911:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

What treatment is available for Covid-19?

Currently, only hospitalized patients with COVID-19 are receiving the approved medication. Further instructions on over-the-counter medications to ease symptoms will be discussed when a physician from Employee Health calls to discuss positive test results.

UAB and UAB Medicine are participating in numerous studies to identify treatments for persons who have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19. These studies are looking for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 to participate in these clinical drug trials. The goal of these studies is to prevent disease progression, hospitalization and severe complications. If you are interested in participating, please call (205) 934-6777.

What do I tell my family and friends if I test positive?

Those who receive a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 should let family and friends who you have come in contact with know. Identify someone who can care for you through monitoring and for provision of nourishment, while keeping their distance. Those with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis will need to isolate for 14 days to prevent spread of the virus. Care partners should monitor themselves for symptoms and seek testing if symptoms develop by calling (205) 975-1881. Best practices in isolation include:

  • Use a separate bathroom and bedroom
  • Wear a mask
  • Practice social distancing
  • Wash hands often
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday

Click here to learn more about caring for loved ones with COVID-19 at home.

What should I do if one of my direct reports receives a positive diagnosis of COVID-19?

If someone on your team has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspected to have COVID-19 and exposed other members of the UAB community, please follow these steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community. Employee Health or Student Health will contact you for further testing and cleaning protocols if indicated. If the person who tested positive came in contact with others, they will report this to Employee or Student Health, who will then contact those that may have been exposed to COVID-19 for further testing if indicated.

All employees and students should update their Healthcheck to reflect an exposure, new symptoms or a positive test, which would then trigger a response from either Student or Employee Health, while concurrently leaving campus to quarantine or isolate until further instructed by either Employee or Student Health.

Those with a positive test are encouraged to:

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people.
  • Wear a mask or face covering.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday

What test is the laboratory using? When will I get my results?

The tests will be processed using the Aptima Bio Fire Fusion platform by UAB epidemiologists and our infectious diseases lab.

If you test negative for COVID-19, you will receive results via email within 36 hours of testing.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you will receive a call from one of the physicians working with Employee Health or Student Health to give you next steps on how to protect yourself and others around you.

What do I do if I've had close contact with someone with COVID-19?

Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of a positive person for greater than 15 minutes without either person wearing a mask. This is calculated over 24 hour period. Fill out an updated HealthCheck and indicate you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19. You will receive a call from Student or Employee Health Services within one business day. 

What happens after I report close contact with someone who is positive?

You will likely be encouraged to have a Telehealth Visit with a Health Services provider who will ask for additional information and may initiate a quarantine. You should call ahead before coming to a clinic or emergency facility.

What do I do if I'm a student and living in the residence halls and have had close contact?

Residents living on campus must quarantine if they have come in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Students must quarantine for 14 days. Students have the option to quarantine in their residence hall space or quarantine off-campus. It is strongly encouraged that student’s quarantine in a space off-campus, if possible. Student Health must clear students to resume their normal activities and attend in-person classes.

If students develop symptoms while in quarantine, they should contact Student Health Services immediately and update their Healthcheck. Students with symptoms may be required to enter a period of isolation.

What if I'm a student living off campus and have had close contact?

Students living off campus must quarantine and should choose a location (apartment, home) where they can quarantine comfortably and maintain the most distance from others. 

What do I tell my professors if I have had close contact?

Students who are in quarantine and asymptomatic should notify their instructor to determine the best way to continue their instruction. 

Am I required to participate in sentinel testing?

No. Participation in sentinel testing is not required; however, it is strongly encouraged that you participate to help keep our campus community safe and healthy. Many people may carry COVID-19 without showing symptoms. People that are asymptomatic are still carriers of the virus and can infect others.

Your choice to participate or not will not impact on your grades or standing at UAB. Supervisors will not be made aware if participation in sentinel testing is declined. Nevertheless, we hope that you will help us in the fight against this virus so that we can continue to put measures in place to keep you safe.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 12 weeks, please opt out of sentinel testing. If you have not received a positive diagnosis, we ask that you participate in UAB's sentinel testing.

When does sentinel testing start? Can I come on campus before I am selected for sentinel testing?

UAB began sentinel testing on July 6.

Yes. You can come to campus prior to sentinel testing. All students, faculty and staff are expected to comply fully with the entry policies, protocols and guidelines outlined here, as well as specialized and more stringent guidance from their particular departments/units/schools. Each department/unit/school will develop and communicate its operational plan for coming to campus.

If I have been chosen for sentinel testing, can I continue to be on campus while waiting for results?

Yes. You can continue to be on campus, both academic and medical, as long as you are without COVID-19 symptoms or significant exposure to a COVID-19 positive person. UAB requires everyone on campus, both academic and medical, to wear a mask to protect yourself and others from spreading COVID-19.