To extend its COVID-19 testing capabilities, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has partnered with St. Peter’s Health Partners to establish a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) overflow lab at Rensselaer under the St. Peter’s license.
Since August, Rensselaer has been conducting widespread PCR-based surveillance testing of asymptomatic faculty, staff, and students to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus on the Troy campus. The twice-weekly testing of all residential students, combined with contact tracing and quarantine measures, has proven effective. Over the course of the first 13 weeks of the fall semester, Rensselaer has conducted over 85,000 tests, and only 22 positive cases have been detected.
“Rensselaer is pleased to be able to partner in this way with St. Peter’s Health Partners to extend our efforts, to create a win-win for our university and the larger community,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “This extension of the CLIA license to designate the Rensselaer lab as a St. Peter’s overflow lab will now allow our tests to be used as actual diagnostic tests for public health reporting, and extends our capability to offer tests to other universities and business partners in the Capital Region.”
“RPI has done an exceptional job controlling the spread of COVID on campus,” said James K. Reed, MD, president and CEO of St. Peter’s Health Partners. “We’re pleased that they reached out to partner with St. Peter’s to provide students easy access to much needed testing.”
St. Peter’s Health Partners will provide clinical oversight of the overflow lab, while Rensselaer staff will continue to perform day-to-day operations. Pool testing of Rensselaer students, faculty and staff will continue to be conducted with high frequency throughout the spring semester and beyond. Using the refined specimen collection process already underway at Rensselaer, results will be returned within 24 hours.