Coronavirus Environmental Testing

Does your building have the virus that causes COVID-19?

Environmental testing can be a cost-effective means of quickly identifying potential sources of virus in a building without testing every individual that uses or passes through the building. We can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies to reduce disease transmission risk indoors, including efforts such as cleaning, building operations and individual behaviors.

Here’s how it works:

First, we meet you virtually to understand your needs and determine if the University of Oregon is suited to meet your needs and establish a research agreement.
Second, you receive a kit and instructions, you select locations to swab surfaces and/or conduct air samples with our guidance, return them to the lab for testing.
Third, within 24 hours of receiving the samples, the lab will issue you simple report card about whether there is virus at those locations in your building.

 

IMPORTANT!

 

These kits are not intended or approved for human diagnostic testing. Please do not send us samples collected from people, pets, etc.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Why aren’t these kits being used for testing people?

Certification for human testing is a lengthy process and requires different lab facilities than we are using. Environmental testing provides useful information without having to test all building occupants.

Will you help me take the samples?

The kits come with step-by-step instructions and we provide telephone support throughout. Custom sampling plans can be discussed directly with our research team.

Is there a limit to how long I have before returning the samples?

Samples should be returned immediately, and no longer than within a week of arrival. The liquid in the tubes is stable at room temperature for up to 30 days. For best results, avoid extremes of temperature and return the samples as soon as possible.

Are there any risks?

You will be in contact with surfaces that may have the virus that causes COVID-19. As such, the hazard here is the same as if you were in contact with those surfaces for any other reason, such as in the normal course of performing your work.  For this reason, wearing a mask while sampling is recommended. The swabs we provide are stabilized in a chemical that inactivates potential viruses collected during sampling.  This chemicals can cause skin and eye irritation and is harmful if swallowed, therefore we supply you with gloves, and we recommend you wear eye protection while collecting samples.

What do I do if the test comes back positive?

A positive result means that there is coronavirus RNA present in the sample. That RNA may be active and infectious or it may be inactive.  At this time, we cannot distinguish between these. Recommendations for building transmission risk mitigation actions can be found at the links below and custom guidance can be outlined in the research agreement.

See our research on COVID-19 and the built environment featured on Good Morning America

energy studies in buildings laboratory

biology in the built environment center

institute for health in the built environment