""UAB prioritizes 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.
  • UAB employees will be randomly selected to voluntarily participate in COVID-19 testing after they are on campus, called Sentinel Testing.
  • COVID-19 campus entry testing was offered to faculty and university staff coming to campus in August, but was not required.

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.

Sentinel Testing

Help stop the spread of COVID-19 and stay on campus by participating in sentinel testing. Each week we randomly select employees and students to be tested to give us idea of how much COVID-19 is circulating on campus. By participating in sentinel testing, we unite to stay on campus. UAB plans to test between 2.5% to 5% of the population randomly on a weekly basis, regardless of symptoms. Sentinel testing is a dedicated resource that does not take testing away from others who may feel sick or are experiencing symptoms. By participating, you will not be taking away from someone else. 

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. Click here to learn more about sentinel testing.

Sentinel Testing: What is the process?

  • Employee sentinel testing invites are sent on Sundays at noon. Be sure to check your UAB email regularly for an invite.
  • If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, do not schedule a sentinel test. Use UAB Healthcheck to report your symptoms and follow the next steps to see if you need to be tested.
  • Employee Sentinel Testing is conducted at 6 UAB Medicine clinical locations on Tuesday through Thursday between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
    • UAB Medicine Inverness
    • The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital
    • UAB Medicine Inverness
    • UAB Hospital-Highlands
    • UAB Medicine Gardendale
    • UAB Medicine Leeds
    • UAB Medicine Hoover
  • The test consists of an observed nasal self-swab that will be processed in an on-campus lab. A healthcare professional will observe each self-test to ensure accuracy and provide coaching if needed. This test is not the more invasive nasopharyngeal swab.
  • Employees do not need an appointment. 
  • Those being tested will be contacted within 24-48 hours with results.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you will receive a call from Employee Health to give you the next steps on how to protect yourself and others around you.

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

Self isolate for 10 days if you test positive, but are not showing symptoms to help protect others in the community.

What should 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.

  • Immediately self-isolate- do not go to class or engage in social activities.
  • Fill out Healthcheck as soon as possible to report your symptoms and call Student Health Services at (205) 934-3580, or after-hours (205) 934-3411 to page the clinician on call for Student Health Services, if you have an urgent concern.
  • Expect a call from Student Health Services and you will likely be encouraged to have a Telehealth Visit with a Student Health Services clinician, and we may recommend COVID-19 testing.
  • Anyone who thinks they may have COVID-19 or thinks they may have been exposed should call ahead before coming to a clinic or emergency facility.
  • 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 10 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 Sophia Point of Care Rapid Antigen Tests at Student Health Services. If you are symptomatic and test negative with the Antigen test, a confirmatory PCR will be processed by a UAB Lab using the Panther COVID-19 PCR Platform.

If you test negative for COVID-19, you will receive results via your Student Health Patient Portal within 24-36 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 on the day of testing.

What should 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 should 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 10 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 for 10 days and should choose a location (apartment, home) where they can quarantine comfortably and maintain the most distance from others. Fill out your HealthCheck as soon as possible to report the possible exposure and expect a call from Student Health Services.

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?

Students in the following groups are required to participate:

  • Residential Students
  • Clinical Students, for those that will have a presence on-campus.
  • In registered student organizations that hold in-person meetings with (10) or more people

Remaining students’ participation is voluntary, but is strongly recommended as this is an important tool for the campus in the effort to keep the campus healthy and safe. Your choice to participate or not will not impact on your grades or standing at UAB.

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.

What should I do if I am concerned I may have or have been exposed to COVID-19?

Do not go to class or engage in social activities. If you are feeling well, please fill out an updated Healthcheck to report the possible exposure. You will receive a call from Student Health Services within 1-2 business days for further guidance.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, other cold symptoms), please call Student Health Services at (205) 934-3580, or after hours (205) 934-3411 to page the provider on call if you have an urgent concern.

You can also fill out an updated Healthcheck and expect a call from Student Health Services. You will likely be encouraged to have a Telehealth Visit with a Student Health Services provider, and we may recommend COVID-19 testing. Anyone who thinks they may have COVID-19 or thinks they may have been exposed should call ahead before coming to a clinic or emergency facility.