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Testing and Tracing

As we continue to fight against the spread of COVID-19, testing is of critical importance. Not only does early diagnosis provide knowledge that can lead to better outcomes for you personally, it can also bring awareness that better enables you to mitigate the spread to others. A positive test is the only way to know for sure if you currently have or have had COVID-19.


Viral / PCR Test

A viral or PCR test will determine if there is active virus present. A health care worker collects fluid from a nasal or throat swab or from saliva. Results may be available in minutes if analyzed onsite or one to two days if sent to an outside lab. It is only a snapshot at the time the sample is taken.

Antibody Test

An antibody test might tell you if you had a past infection. Since it can take 1-3 weeks after infection for the body to produce antibodies, it may not show if you have a current infection. It can be a swab test or blood test.


When should I get a test?

Based on the current testing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, and Public Health people fitting into the following categories should pursue testing:

 - If you develop one or more of the COVID-19 symptoms: 

  • fever above 100 degrees
  • cough
  • trouble breathing
  • chills
  • muscle aches
  • sore throat
  • loss of taste or smell
  • headache
  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

 - If you have been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. Close contact means that you have been:

  • Within six feet of someone who does not show symptoms for 15 minutes.
  • Within six feet of someone who shows symptoms for 5 minutes.

 - If directed to do so by the Barren River District Health Department through contact tracing.

 - If directed by a physician based on medical history and/or other factors. 


How can I get a test?

COVID-19 testing will be conducted at the WKU GGC Health Services during normal hours Monday through Friday. In addition, the clinic will be open for COVID-19 Testing Only Saturday and Sunday 1/22 – 1/23 and 1/29-1/30 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. You can make a testing appointment by calling 270-745-2273. Walk-ins are accepted as well but may include wait times. COVID-19 testing is also available at the Graves Gilbert Primary Clinic located downtown and at the Walk-In Clinic on Nashville Road.  


Additionally, the federal government is providing four free COVID-19 testing kits to every U.S. residential address that requests them. Students with shared housing addresses (such as residence halls, apartment buildings, or group housing) should enter their unique room or apartment number, and/or letter (A, B, C, D, etc.) in addition to their street address on their order. To request testing kits, visit www.covidtests.gov or call 1-800-232-0233. 


When will I receive my test result?

Currently, results for tests conducted through Graves Gilbert Clinic (for either PCR or antibody tests) are back within two and four days.

It is important to self-isolate until you receive the results of the test.


What happens if I test positive?

You will need to isolate from others for the required isolation period. 

  • For students that commute or reside off-campus, you should isolate in your residence.
  • For on-campus residents, students may choose to return home for the isolation period. WKU also has designated spaces for isolation, if you cannot return home.

Call WKU’s COVID Response Team at 270-745-2019 or email covid.help@wku.edu so that we can arrange for your needs during the quarantine period.

You will also be interviewed by contact tracers from the Barren River District Health Department to determine if those with whom you’ve had contact are at risk.


What happens if someone close to me tests positive?

Once someone receives a positive test, they will be interviewed by contact tracers from the Barren River District Health Department to determine if those with whom you’ve had contact are at risk.

At risk means you’ve been (within) six feet from someone who does not show symptoms for 15 minutes or for 5 minutes if they have symptoms.

It is important that you respond when contacted by the health department.


How does contact tracing work?

Contact tracing involves working with a patient (symptomatic and asymptomatic) who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to identify and provide support to people (contacts) who may have been infected through exposure to the patient. This process prevents further transmission of disease by separating people who have (or may have) an infectious disease from people who do not.

For more information about contact tracing, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/contact-tracing.html


Who will contact me?

The Barren River District Health Department in concert with the Kentucky Department of Public Health is responsible for conducting contact tracing of potential and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our area. In the case of our Elizabethtown and Owensboro campuses, the Kentucky Department of Public Health, along with the health departments in Hardin and Daviess Counties, will conduct the contact tracing.

All positive test results are automatically communicated to the state contact tracing group. This includes tests for individuals in other states who may identify people residing in Kentucky as potential contacts. WKU will cooperate fully with our public health partners to assist with contact tracing while protecting the privacy of our faculty, staff, and students in accordance with applicable government regulations.

We ask that all members of the WKU community answer the call if a public health representative reaches out to you. The representative will provide verification of their identity and direct you on appropriate actions to take, which may include self-quarantine, testing, etc. 


Frequently Asked Questions

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 Last Modified 1/27/22