MBL Mandatory Asymptomatic Testing Program and Contract Tracing

Updated 9/17/21

To help limit the spread of COVID-19, the MBL is taking measures to test, trace, quarantine, and isolate cases that may emerge.

Advanced Research Training Course and Whitman Visiting Science Participants

All education and research program participants are required to complete the MBL’s vaccination registry and COVID-19 Safety acknowledgement and attestation prior to arriving on campus. These items are part of the registration and decision reply-form and a pre-requisite for obtaining an MBL identification and door access card (MBL card).

Individuals who do not upload proof of full vaccination in the MBL’s vaccination registry must register an account with our testing partner, the company Color prior to arriving on campus. As a participant in the testing program, you will be required to create an account ahead of time at https://home.color.com/create-account using the email address that you used to register or apply to come to the MBL.  An email address is required for registration. When registering your account for MBL’s testing program, you must use the MBL’s street address of 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543. Using this address will ensure that positive results are reported to local and state public health departments. You will use your Color login to activate your test kit each time you provide a sample at a testing location. Due to FDA regulations, there is an expiration time limit on the testing kits. Kits must be activated immediately prior to sample collection to ensure that the sample is eligible for processing. The kit activation process will take 2-5 minutes to complete, and you will receive an email and text notification alerting you that your sample has been activated.

  • Testing for these members of the MBL community occurs every Wednesday from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM in Lillie 100A
MBL Employees

Mandatory Asymptomatic Testing Program

Mandatory asymptomatic testing is required for unvaccinated employees effective September 22 and is free of charge. Below are additional details and requirements for the Mandatory Asymptomatic Testing Program.

  • For unvaccinated employees
  • Individual must be asymptomatic
  • Testing occurs every Wednesday from 8:00-10:00 AM in Lillie 100A
  • Human Resources will contact relevant employees to confirm registration
  • If an appointment cannot be kept, individual must email hr@mbl.edu and must be tested that same week at a local provider and provide proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test result. Contact hr@mbl.edu for additional details on missed appointments.

Voluntary Asymptomatic Testing Program

Voluntary asymptomatic testing is available to fully vaccinated employees effective September 22 and is free of charge. Below are additional details and requirements for the Voluntary Asymptomatic Testing Program.

  • All full and part-time faculty and staff are eligible to participate
  • Individual must be asymptomatic
  • Individuals must commit to weekly testing cadence through December 31, 2021. We will assess the program again at the end of the year.
  • Individuals must NOT have tested positive for COVID-19 at any point in the 90 days prior to their first test.
  • Testing occurs every Wednesday from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM in Lillie 100A
  • If an appointment cannot be kept, individual must email hr@mbl.edu and resume testing the following week.
  • To register, email hr@mbl.edu who will confirm registration
  • Register no later than 5 p.m. on September 20.

Symptomatic or Exposure Testing

Regardless of your vaccination status, if you experience symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed you should not come onto the MBL or enter any MBL buildings. You should not participate in the Asymptomatic Testing Program. Instead, you should arrange for a symptomatic test at a local provider (see below) or consult your doctor.

Testing Protocols and Results

The MBL partners with the company Color, a partner of the Broad Institute for its Testing Program. Test kits are sent from the MBL to the Color Lab which provides a Color SARS-CoV-2 RT-LAMP Diagnostic Assay test. Visit the Color website for more details on this test.

All testing program participants are required to create an account prior to their first test at https://home.color.com/create-account using an email address.  An email address is required for registration. When registering your account for MBL’s testing program, you must use the MBL’s street address of 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543. Using this address will ensure that positive results are reported to local and state public health departments. You will use your Color login to activate your test kit each time you provide a sample at a testing location. Due to FDA regulations, there is an expiration time limit on the testing kits. Kits must be activated immediately prior to sample collection to ensure that the sample is eligible for processing. The kit activation process will take 2-5 minutes to complete, and you will receive an email and text notification alerting you that your sample has been activated.

Testing participants will be notified by email and text when test results are processed. Once alerted, they must log into the Color secure portal to view their results. Most test results are received within 24 hours.

Testing for Travel

At this time, the MBL is not offering the voluntary testing program for business or personal travel-related needs. Travel-related testing will be assessed at a later date. Individuals who need a negative COVID-19 test result prior to travel should contact a local provider to schedule a test. A list of local providers is below.

Convenient MD
40 Davis Straits
Falmouth, MA 02540
(774) 255-3010
convenientmd.com
8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. 7 days a week
*$175 per test if you are asymptomatic and not a resident of Maine, NH or Massachusetts

CVS Falmouth
105 Davis Straits
Falmouth, MA 02540
(508) 540-4307
cvs.com
Schedule through online portal

CVS Bourne
6 Head of the Bay Rd
Bourne, MA 02532
(508) 759-1097
cvs.com
Schedule through online portal

MBL Contact Tracing Program

All reports of a MBL community member who has been exposed to COVID-19 or tested positive are forwarded to the MBL’s Contact Tracing Team. A Contact Tracer will interview each individual with confirmed COVID-19 to determine if they have been in close contact with other members of the MBL community.

Importance of Contact Tracing

It is vitally important for all members of the MBL community to cooperate with the MBL’s Contact Tracing Team. Their work has been essential in limiting the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Members of the MBL community have agreed to cooperate with contact tracers as part of the attestation required to access campus facilities. Please also note that the Contact Tracing Team has no role in enforcement of policy. The Contact Tracing Team’s paramount priority is to limit the spread of COVID-19 by identifying and notifying close contacts of known cases. The MBL’s Contact Tracing Program has been active since September 16, 2020.

Close Contact Definition

A close contact is defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as any individual who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. The Contact Tracing Team notifies close MBL contacts of their exposure, provides them with public health recommendations to limit the spread of the virus, and directs them to resources for further support. For further information, see the Exposure Protocol.

Protecting Confidentiality

The Contact Tracing Team routinely notifies the appropriate MBL personnel concerning new cases. A top priority in any such notification is to maintain the confidentiality of infected individuals, and to limit information about a patient’s identity to a small number of MBL personnel with oversight duties for the individual.  Only people whose exposure to an infected individual meets appropriate risk thresholds will be contacted. The MBL’s primary means of providing updates on new cases is the campus-wide dashboard. In limited cases when communications are sent about specific new cases, such messages will always avoid providing identifying information about the COVID-19 individual.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health via Barnstable County or the Town of Falmouth Health Officer uses the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) to conduct contact tracing that looks more broadly at an infected individual’s close contacts, in particular those that may have occurred off-campus.