University Rolls Out COVID Test Vending Machines

UC San Diego also monitoring dorm sewage for 'potential outbreaks'

Image Credits: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images.

Students at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) can now obtain self-administered COVID test kits from vending machines around the campus.

A total of 20 dispensers are being installed on the UCSD grounds where students can obtain free test kits by swiping their university ID cards, according to Reuters.

All UCSD students living on-campus are required to take at least one COVID test every week.


The test kits contain a nasal swab which the user can self-administer and then register using a phone app before dropping the sample into a receptacle, where it is collected and sent to an on-site laboratory.

Results of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test are typically returned within 24 hours.

Students who test positive can move into a 600-bed housing to “recover in isolation.”

“UC San Diego also has the most advanced wastewater COVID testing program of any U.S. college, with sewage samples collected from campus housing sites scanned every 24 hours,” Reuters reports.

“The wastewater surveillance enables health officials to indirectly screen all students daily and detect potential outbreaks before they occur.”

Less than 10 percent of UCSD undergraduate classes are being taught in-person during the winter term, with all other courses taking place remotely.


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