Weekly COVID-19 Testing Clinic Update: Aug. 31

September 01, 2020

Welcome to the Weekly COVID-19 Testing Clinic Update. Each week, we will share with you up-to-date results from the tests conducted during the preceding week. We will report the data in an aggregate, de-identified manner in order to keep individual results confidential. Within each update, we will also share community health information and helpful tips as well as any notices or alerts from the testing clinic. Additionally, we will recognize those Grinnellians (students, faculty and staff) who model outstanding health behaviors that help our community mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  Please keep an eye out for the update every week!

Testing Clinic Results

Received August 25-August 28

Number Received Negative Positive Percent Positive
402 402 0 0%

Our testing clinic opened smoothly ahead of the start of classes. A total of 402 students, faculty and staff were tested between Monday, August 24 and Thursday, August 27. All of the 402 tests given came back negative, resulting in a 0% positivity rate.

For most people, the testing process only takes 5-10 minutes and we believe this time will reduce further as people get used to the process.  Currently, our lab partner Corteva, which is based in Johnston, Iowa, is able to turn results back around within 24 hours after a test is administered. That’s an amazingly quick turnaround time!  Having a fast turnaround time is critically important to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in the event someone tests positive.

Testing Clinic Alerts

There will be no testing on Tuesday, September 1, due to capacity issues at Corteva. Also, there will not be testing on Monday, September 7, since that is Labor Day. If you were originally scheduled for testing on one of those days, you will be rescheduled.

Why Is A Saliva Test Being Used?

After considering the many types of tests available to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, Grinnell College chose a PCR saliva test through Corteva. Unlike the more familiar test requiring a long swab being placed at the very back of the nasal cavity, the saliva test is very simple as it only requires you to spit into a small cup. It has a sensitivity that is comparable to other testing measures. Additionally, because of Corteva’s location in Johnston, Iowa, the turnaround time is very fast. For more on the different tests used to detect coronavirus, please visit the FDA's explanation of Coronavirus Testing Basics.

Did You Know?

What’s the difference between isolation, quarantine, and physical distancing?

Isolation means separating people who are ill with COVID-19 and may be infectious to prevent the spread of the disease.

Quarantine means restricting activities or separating people who are not ill themselves but may have been exposed to COVID-19. The goal is to prevent spread of the disease.

Physical distancing means being physically apart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends keeping at least 6 feet apart from others. This is a general precaution that everyone should follow, even if they are well and have no known exposure to COVID-19.

Grinnell Health Heroes

Each week, we will recognize those students, faculty, and staff who exemplify outstanding health-related behaviors that help to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our campus community. In our next update, there will be a Qualtrics survey link where you can nominate someone you think is deserving to be a Grinnell Health Hero. So, be on the lookout for your health heroes! This week, I wish to extend my thanks and express my appreciation for the SHAW team and our campus partners (pictured above) who, in partnership with ITS and Facilities Management, launched our testing clinic – thank you all!

For more updates from SHAW, follow us on Instagram @grinnellcollegeshaw.

To Your Health,


Terry W. Mason, Ph.D.
Dean for Health and Wellness

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