A new tool helps Hobart and William Smith screen for the most reliable sign of COVID-19, loss of smell.
During the spring semester, Hobart and William Smith have added new layers to the campus’ COVID-19 precautions with two negative COVID-19 tests required as well as a SmellCheck. With a paper card and a corresponding app, SmellCheck offers a simple self-administered test to screen for anosmia, or loss of smell.
Warren Pugach P’15, cofounder of SmellCheck, supplied HWS with 2,500 anosmia screening cards, which is enabling screenings for all students during the first four weeks of the semester.
“SmellCheck is an important addition to our COVD-19 readiness,” says Vice President for Campus Life Robb Flowers. “Alongside our other diagnostic tools, it’s helping the efficiency and thoroughness of our safety process. We’re grateful for Warren’s guidance, and his support of and engagement with HWS, as we move through the challenges of the pandemic together as a community.”
SmellCheck notes that loss of smell is the most common symptom of COVID-19 infection and that objective screenings are more predictive of infection than self-reporting.
Once a user has peeled the label on the screening card and chosen the description in the app that best matches the scent, the app offers immediate feedback and recommends next steps.
The screening test is the newest piece of the Colleges’ overall COVID-19 response strategy.
In the photo above Ethan Albrecht ’21 takes the SmellCheck in Winn-Seeley gym in January.