This email was sent to all Duke faculty and staff on Thursday, November 19
Thanksgiving is only one week away, and we want to urge all of our faculty and staff members to reduce the risk of spreading infection while celebrating the holiday. There are many ways to reduce your chance of getting sick or sharing this virus with your loved ones and others in the community. The CDC website has several resources available to help you make a safe plan today.
Given the upcoming holiday, several faculty and staff have requested more information about available asymptomatic testing services. Please keep in mind that testing alone cannot prevent the spread of infection, and even if you test negative for COVID-19, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others. It is possible to receive a negative COVID-19 test result if the sample was collected early in your infection and then test positive later during this illness. You could also be exposed to COVID-19 after your test. If that happens, the infection could be spread to others if you are not diligent about physical distancing, wearing a face mask and performing hand hygiene.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) offers numerous no-cost community testing events for you and your family members. There are multiple events being held in counties across the state this weekend. Local health departments, pharmacies and other locations also provide convenient access to testing. You can find the service closest to you through the NCDHHS test site finder. In some instances, there may be fees for these services.
Duke faculty and staff members can also call the Duke COVID-19 Hotline (919-385-0429, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) and select the option for asymptomatic testing. To help reduce the risk of spreading infection, we are now offering no-cost asymptomatic testing for Duke University, Duke University Health System and PDC faculty and staff. Appointments must be scheduled in advance – walking up to a Duke Health COVID-19 testing tent to request testing is not permitted. You should anticipate receiving a result within 48 hours. We also encourage you to ensure your MyChart is active so you can receive your test result as soon as it is processed. If you are interested in receiving this service, we encourage you to schedule your appointment for this weekend to ensure you have your result before the holiday.
This is a service with limited capacity which we plan to provide for our faculty and staff as long as our supplies and resources allow. If you would like to request asymptomatic testing for a family member, there will be a fee associated for this service.
Duke Health is experiencing a high demand for COVID-19 testing before the Thanksgiving holiday. It will take time for these tests to be processed and results communicated. This week alone, Duke Health has already received more than 1,800 calls a day to its COVID-19 hotline. If you are interested in any of these testing services, we encourage you to get tested as early as possible and to strictly isolate before traveling or gathering with others.
If your test for COVID-19 is positive, call the Duke COVID-19 Hotline (919-385-0429, option 1 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) within one hour of receiving your result to notify our Employee Health team, regardless of where you receive your testing service. As always, please call the Duke COVID-19 Hotline if you are experiencing any new or worsening symptoms.
Testing is only a single snapshot in time of your infectious status. It is one strategy to prevent the spread of infection. We encourage you to continue practicing your three W’s even if you receive a negative test result – wear a mask over your nose and mouth; wait six feet apart to avoid close contact; wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
Thank you for your ongoing efforts to ensure your safety and the safety of your friends, family and community.
Vice President, Administration
Carol Epling, MD, MSPH
Director, Employee Occupational Health and Wellness