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University of Maine System to begin several rounds of required random sampling for COVID-19

About 80% of the random sampling will involve students. The remaining 20% will involve staff.

MAINE, USA — The University of Maine System will immediately begin several rounds of required random sampling for COVID-19 upon conclusion of the first two phases of its asymptomatic screening strategy. 

To date the more than 14,000 arrival and follow up tests conducted by the University System for COVID-19 have successfully diagnosed 13 new cases of COVID-19 infection among asymptomatic individuals. Arrival and follow up screening will be complete by Friday, September 11.

The planned Phase 3 required random sampling begins Monday, September 14, and will continue through the Thanksgiving-break transition to distance instruction.

According to the University of Maine System, its universities support the quarantine and isolation needs of members of the university community in collaboration with Maine Centers for Disease Control to limit the spread of COVID-19. There are currently seven known, active COVID-19 cases involving members of the public university community across the state. An update is posted and distributed daily.

“We are proud of how our students and employees have come together to protect themselves and our Maine communities,” Chancellor Dannel Malloy said. “It is very early in the semester and we must stay committed to the plans we have established to limit the spread of infection while also being ready to change with the circumstances to keep people safe.”

Phase 3 Surveillance and Monitoring: Several Rounds of Required Sampling and Directed Sampling

Phase 3 of the University of Maine System’s asymptomatic COVID-19 screening strategy will include several rounds of coronavirus testing beginning September 14. Each testing round will include 2,000 tests occurring over a period of approximately ten days. The final round of the asymptomatic testing is expected to conclude the week before the Thanksgiving-break transition to remote instruction.

The number of tests are apportioned to UMS universities based on their percentage of the approximately 22,000 students, faculty, and staff participating in some form of on-campus activity in the Fall 2020 semester.

1,500 Required Random Tests Per Round: Each round of testing will include a random sampling that requires participation of a percentage of students, faculty, and staff involved in on-campus activities in order for university statisticians to accurately model potential disease prevalence rates across the System. About 80% of the random sampling will involve students to reflect campus demographics and the preponderance of utilization for the fall semester. The remaining 20% of random tests per round will be assigned to University employees.

500 Administrative Tests for Directed Sampling:  An additional 500 tests will be available in each round to be used as directed by university leadership. These tests may be used, for example, for additional sampling narrowed to more specific campus populations or programs.