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This vending machine gives out COVID tests, not candy bars

From a distance, it looks like a regular candy bar dispenser, but get up close and you’ll quickly see that this is a vending machine with a difference.

UC San Diego

For this one gives out not snacks but free COVID-19 tests.

Ramping up COVID testing across the U.S. is a key part of tackling the spread of the coronavirus, and the University of California, San Diego, is doing its bit.

In an effort to increase testing for students and workers, the educational facility has built a test-dispensing vending machine and installed 11 of them at various locations across the campus.

The university said in a message on its website that following a self-administered testing procedure, the sample should be returned within 72 hours via drop boxes located beside the vending machines.

It added that students living on campus or attending the site should ensure they complete a COVID test on a weekly basis, with results expected to be available within two days of depositing it in the box.

Classes restarted at the campus on January 4, with the vending machines one of a slew of measures introduced by the university aimed at preventing the virus from spreading among its students and staff.

The university noted on its website that during the fall, its proactive strategies to detect and prevent transmission of the virus proved effective, with the campus’s positivity rates so far having remained “far below average.”

California has been hit hard by COVID-19, with official figures putting recorded infections at 2.4 million — the highest of any state — and deaths at just over 26,500 as of January 4, 2021, with only New York and Texas experiencing more fatalities.

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