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University of Arizona Preps New Mandatory COVID-19 Testing For Spring Semester

University of Arizona

TUSCON, Ariz. (KYMA/KECY) - New plans for a ‘gold-standard’ campus-wide ‘gargle’ Coronavirus test  will be rolled out at the University of Arizona in the Spring.

As students are gone for the holiday, plans will be drafted to offer COVID tests to its students, but the university finds itself starting from scratch.

"We are changing our testing protocols for next semester,” said Dr. Mike Worobey, Head of Oncology at the University of Arizona.  "We think we can do about 3,000 of these a day."

The simple test is administered in little to no time, making it quite the game-changer in how COVID testing is done.

"So this is just 5 milliliters of sterile salt water,” explains Dr. Worobey.  “Instead of the deep stick in the nose to get back to the pharynx to get to where those cells that are infested are, what this allows you to do is swish this around and gargle and get back to those cells in a much more tolerable way."

The person then swishes, gargles and spits the solution into a tube.  That process will be repeated by U of A students in the spring that lives on-campus or attends in-person courses when getting a required test. 

As the university drives towards student’s safety, this test is not required for those visiting bookstores or making quick on-campus trips.

"The enormity of compliance in tracking this is really difficult,” said University President Robert Robbins.  “Obviously we can't assure that everybody has been tested."

As cases rise in Tucson and at the U of A, the institution is making it their goal to get testing and compliance under control. 

"In a 14 day change, we are up 58 percent,” said Dr. Richard Carmon, a former Surgeon General turned Professor of Public Health at the university.  “Deaths have increased nearly a 100 percent and hospitalization up 57 percent."

KVOA reports that the university's president wants every student to get the coronavirus vaccine when it comes out, but they need to look at the legality of requiring it.

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Christian Galeno

Christian Galeno joined the News 11/CBS 13 team in July of 2019 as a Weekend Anchor and multimedia journalist. He now anchors 13 on Your Side at 6, and 10.

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