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Beloit College partners with Abbott Laboratories; four new cases on campus

Beloit College partners with Abbott Laboratories; four new cases on campus

   As of September 28, four new cases were announced this past weekend leading to Beloit College shifting their COVID-19 campus alert system from green to yellow. The significant increase of cases in Rock and Winnebago counties also contributed to the upgraded system. 

   Under the yellow alert level, the only change entails indoor gatherings no longer being recommended opposing the one person limit that was in place.  

   To combat the rising cases, the college announced September 16 its plans to partner with Abbott Laboratories in Chicago to provide testing to students weekly. 20% of the faculty and staff will be tested each week. 

   The partnership will last the entirety of the 2020-21 academic year; students will be tested on-campus every seven days, which the college will cover financially. 

    “This partnership gives us the capacity to take care of our students, staff, and faculty in the best way possible,” said President Scott Bierman in the Beloit College COVID-19 Task Force Newsletter. 

   This new form of testing on campus produces results in twenty minutes or less through an inner nasal swab. The testing will be possible by using ten machines, eight hired staff, and the Powerhouse’s fourth floor to host the center. 

   Although it is unclear where the money is coming from for the testing, there is a lot of money that the college is not spending because of the virus. 

   “We are not doing any travel, we have a large amount of money set aside for travel. We are not doing any international travel. We are not doing any local travel…We are not having any events on campus. There is some money that is available that we are trying to use towards different things,” said Karen Mayse, Director of Engagement at Beloit College. Mayse will also be in charge of running the new testing center. 

   The plan is to have the new testing center up and running by the second week of October. Ten test spots will be available for students every twenty minutes Monday through Thursday to receive their test. Every student will be assigned a number that will be entered into the testing machines along with their tests. Shortly after, they will be called back one by one to receive their results. 

   “They had a really good product and they were willing to work with us. We found a good fit, reached out, and they were available,” said Mayse on the partnership with Abbott Laboratories. 

   The Northern Chicago based healthcare company specializes in cardiovascular, diagnostics, diabetes and neuromodulation products. 

   Getting rapid tests on campus is going to be vital for students’ health as receiving tests around southern Wisconsin is difficult with total numbers in the state rising over 125 thousand. 

   According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Rock County, where Beloit resides, has 2,723 cases as of October 2, 2020. The case fatality percentage being 1.2% and just under 1,700 cases per 100 thousand people. 

   Although the case fatality percentage for the state of Wisconsin is only 1.1%, the college is taking precautionary steps to limit the spread on Beloit’s campus. 

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