COVID-test vending machines
As omicron grows, COVID-test vending machines are appearing at campuses across the United States.
As the contagious omicron form spreads, certain institutions in the United States are utilizing the convenience of vending machines by providing COVID-19 exams instead of snacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the current 7-day average for new positive cases in the United States was 782,766 as of Jan. 12. According to a tweet sent by the university on Jan. 13, when students at the University of Utah started their Spring semester on Jan. 10, the college established multiple self-serve COVID-test vending machines as well as drop-off places for the samples.
“At the end of the fall semester, our public health professionals began planning for the return to campus and the spread of the omicron variety,” school spokesperson Rebecca Walsh told McClatchy News. The PCR tests are available at “nine self-serve testing stations,” she stated.
“With omicron’s rapid spread and the possible prevalence of asymptomatic infections, a self-serve testing program became a crucial aspect of our efforts to safeguard the health and safety of our campus,” Walsh noted. Because the school has alternative testing options for those who are symptomatic, this is a free resource for asymptomatic enrolled students, faculty, and staff. According to the Twitter post, those who are asymptomatic are allowed to submit up to two samples per week. “Most people get their results in less than 24 hours,” Walsh added.
According to a school video, the COVID-19 tests inside the machines give saliva testing kits that require spitting in a tube, sealing it, and dropping it off at a sample collection facility.
Gabi Mortarotti, a student at FOX 13, said, “It’s extremely easy.” “And, to be honest, it’s a lot less of a hassle than having to stand in line for hours.” According to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, vending machines with free COVID-19 examinations have appeared for the Spring semester. According to university spokesperson Megan Koeth, who manages the machines, there are 12 machines with PCR saliva tests available for teachers, staff, and students. These vending machines will eventually give antigen tests as well.
“These adjustments will assist keep our students on campus and our instructors and staff on campus,” Koeth said. “It’s just how we live with COVID.” For several months, several California schools have had vending machines containing COVID-19 assessments. “Students at UCLA might stop by an on-campus vending machine between classes to purchase a snack, a soda, or, now, a COVID-19 test,” the university stated on Oct. 13.
According to CBS 8 San Diego, the vending machines were placed at the University of California San Diego in January 2021. On Aug. 30, 2021, San Diego State University began delivering COVID-19 testing through vending machines. “The self-serve locations allow for quicker pick-up and drop-off, as well as less queuing and gathering,” Walsh explained.
OTHER APPLICATIONS OF VENDING MACHINES IN THE COVID FIGHT
According to Forbes, a COVID-test vending machine was put at Oakland International Airport in California last February by the startup Wellness 4 Humanity. On Twitter, the airport claimed to be the “first US airport to sell COVID test kits at vending machines.” According to the New York Post, the business will also deploy vending machines in New York City in 2021.
Early in 2021, Japan began selling COVID tests through vending machines, according to Reuters. Other COVID-19-related materials, such as masks, hand sanitizers, gloves, and more, are available through campus vending machines at the University of Washington in Seattle, according to the institution.