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Laurentian University providing on-campus rapid COVID-19 testing to asymptomatic students

Laurentian University has launched rapid COVID-19 testing for students on campus — even if they have no symptoms.

'With everyone coming back from really big hot spots, I think it's incredibly important'

For the next eight weeks, at least, Laurentian University will be offering rapid COVID-19 testing on campus to its students. (Erik White/CBC )

Laurentian University has launched rapid COVID-19 testing for students on campus — even if they have no symptoms.

The school is one of three, which has recently been approved and funded by the Ministry of Health to provide the service. The program began last week and is set to run for a period of eight weeks. 

Ben Demianiuk, who's with the school says right now the campus testing site is able to complete about two tests every 15 minutes. 

"Being asymptomatic, they might not have been able to receive a test, so the ability to do this within residence and have results so quickly really provides some peace of mind for these students," he says. 

"Students living in residence ... they're able to walk downstairs either with an appointment or just walk in, " he says, "and within 15 minutes they'd have results." 

Lexey Burns says she's already been tested negative. (Submitted by Lexey Burns)

He says having rapid testing available on campus is especially important now, as some students travelled to other regions for the holidays. 

"They returned and maybe they aren't showing any symptoms but you still wonder if you might be positive for COVID-19. So just having the ability to get tested in residence has been very well received by students." 

Lexey Burns, who is a second year student at the University, says having the testing available so close to home is a relief. 

Burns says she decided to return home to spend the holidays with her brother and father. She also worked a few shifts at a grocery store, so she was keen to ensure that she hadn't crossed paths with a positive case.

'Reassurance'

She says she tested negative for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

"With everyone coming back from really big hot spots, I think it's incredibly important for everyone to have the reassurance just in case they had come in contact with a positive case and not know it while they were home," she says. 

She says she would have been tested before she left for the holidays but because she wasn't symptomatic she wasn't able to. 

Burns also says she's encouraged the students who live with her to get tested as well. 

"Me and both of my roommates, like we all have them," she says, "They give you like a little piece of paper saying your results so we have those hanging up on our fridge."

The university, Demianiuk says, plans to renew the program with the province after the initial eight-week period is complete.

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