TU Health Center lags in returning COVID-19 test results

By: Grace Coughlan, Associate Editor
Illustration by Victoria Nicholson/ The Towerlight

Towson University students have claimed to have not received COVID-19 test results back from the University Health Center.

According to the Health Center, results are expected to return within three to five business days in an email if negative, or in a call if positive.

“To protect my family [before moving off-campus and back home] I went to get tested on Aug. 28,” said student Amanda Lien. “My test results still haven’t been emailed to me. I thought it would be emailed to me within 5 business days like my first one to get on campus, but no. And still to this day on Sept. 10th I haven’t gotten my results back. 

Likewise, student Katie Riley needed to have a test in order to return to her job, after finding out a coworker had tested positive for COVID-19. 

“I went to go get tested at the Towson Health Center on Thursday, Sept. 3,” Riley said. “They told me that since it was a holiday weekend upcoming, I should see my results on Tuesday the 8th.” 

Riley has yet to hear from the Health Center with her results. 

Nicole Foundas, a TU student, found out that she had been exposed to COVID-19 Sept. 4. That same day Foundas and two other students went to the Health Center to get tested. 

“Once we got the tests done, we were told our results would be back the following Tuesday or Wednesday,” Foundas said. “We were not told to quarantine or do anything while we wait for our results, but we decided to quarantine anyway.” 

Foundas called the Health Center on Sept. 8 inquiring about her test results. 

“I was told that they had not received any results from the lab over the course of the entire weekend, and that their director was at the lab to see if there was an issue and to figure out what was going on,” she said. “I was then told I should call back later the same day to check again.” 

After calling the Health Center back and receiving no new information, Foundas and the two other students went to the MedStar Health Urgent Care located on York Road to get a rapid COVID-19 test. 

“After that phone call, my friends and I started to worry that maybe the lab had mixed up people’s tests or gotten incorrect results, so we decided to get tested elsewhere,” Foundas explained. 

Foundas was turned away by MedStar because she is a Towson University student. 

“We went to MedStar to get rapid tests and were told that Towson told them that MedStar should no longer accept Towson students for covid testing, and that students should go to [the on-campus testing site],” Foundas said. “I explained  that we have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive, and had a migraine for the past 3 days, but I was told again that they would not accept us.” 

-The Towerlight reached out to MedStar for comment, but they did not get back to us in time for publication.

According to the University, working with the University of Maryland Baltimore lab has benefitted the campus community.

“That benefit results in test results being returned to the TU community within a 2-5 day window at more than 95 percent of the time across the nearly 11,000 tests conducted since June,” the University said. “Many of those tests are returned sooner than the national average of three days. Any individuals whose results have not been returned within five days should contact the TU Health Center for guidance.”

Foundas called the Health Center again on Sept. 9 and was told her results had still not been received and that she would have to call back.

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