UNC students call for more COVID testing hours, sites as cases surge on campus

Orange County News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – As the number of COVID cases increases at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, the line to get a COVID test is getting longer as well.

On Monday morning, More than 50 students could be seen waiting in a long line outside the Carolina Union at times, which is the only testing site for asymptomatic testing on campus.

Students who are required to get a COVID test are those who have not attested to being vaccinated.

Initially, these students were only required to get one COVID test a week, but on Aug. 19 the University announced students would be required to get tested twice per week beginning Aug. 23.
UNC senior Adam Geibel has not been vaccinated, and he said recently he’s noticed he’s had to wait longer in line to get tested.

“Today, someone was like ‘hey, the line is all the way outside,’ and I was like ‘oh boy!'” Geibel said. “I haven’t seen this long of a wait, it’s been walk up and walk out.”

Some students told CBS 17 they have been struggling to find time to get tested twice for COVID per week.

Zach Sherman is on the UNC wrestling team and he said he is required to get tested for COVID three times a week.

“It is pretty tough,” Sherman said. “I have to find time during my eating time during the day to get tested for COVID.”

Students who are vaccinated have also started coming to get a COVID test as the cases are on the rise.

Last week, there were 215 new COVID cases reported among students and staff on campus.

That’s more than double the 81 positive cases on campus the week before.

UNC freshmen Namita Krishma and Vedika Birla said they plan to go home this Labor Day weekend and they were waiting in line on Monday to get tested to make sure they do not take COVID home with them.

“Since we’re vaccinated, we’re not required to get tested, but we’re being proactive just in case,” Krishma said.

UNC officials said in an email that the first week of classes from Aug. 16 – 20, 3,900 COVID tests were taken on campus. But last week, they administered 6,500 COVID tests.

The COVID testing line at the Carolina Union appeared to move quickly on Monday morning, as most students were able to get through the line in 10 to 20 minutes.

There were times during classes where there was no one waiting in line at all.

The Carolina Union testing site is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Some students argue that as COVID cases are on the rise and more people are getting tested, that there should be more COVID testing sites on campus or that the hours should be extended.

“They close at 2 p.m. on Friday and that’s not convenient for a lot of people,” said Abigail Kessel, a UNC sophomore. “Last year they had three testing sites. I feel like UNC wasn’t prepared for such an influx of COVID cases.”

As for Geibel, this has him thinking about getting the vaccine so he can skip the line.

“Maybe they’re just trying to make it really inconvenient to encourage people to get vaccinated because it’s working for me,” Geibel said.

UNC officials said right now there are enough ample resources for students to get tested and they have no plans of opening another testing site or extending testing hours.

They said students can go to the Carolina Together website to make a reservation so they do not have to wait as long in line.

But ultimately, university leaders said in an email that they are encouraging students to get vaccinated.

If students are having COVID symptoms, they should contact Campus Health and set up an appointment for a test.

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