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Top US university offers free COVID test kits for students

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New York, Jan 5 (IANS) With students set to return to studies over the coming week, University of California in San Diego has installed COVID-19 testing kits across its campus, from where students can pick up the kits for free.

UC San Diego officials have decided to offer COVID-19 tests — used to determine if an individual is carrying the virus, whether or not they have symptoms — as part of the organisation’s “Return to Learn” programme.

According to a ZDnet report late on Monday, the free tests can be acquired from the vending machines, self-administered, and then swabs can be placed in drop boxes next to the machines, seven days a week. Samples should be returned within 72 hours for processing.

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Students and staff returning to the campus are being asked to participate in daily symptom screenings and weekly COVID-19 tests.

The testing procedure chosen by UC San Diego appears to be focused on making the process as easy and streamlined as possible — while also improving the chance of discovering both symptomatic and asymptomatic infection before an outbreak occurs.

UC San Diego has also provided a dashboard for tracking students and campus employees COVID-19 infection rates. Approximately 10,000 students live on campus during standard semesters, while thousands more live off-campus, the report said.

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The programme also includes contact tracing and wastewater monitoring. In total, 52 water samplers have been installed to analyze wastewater in over 100 residential buildings and identify any student hotspots where the virus is being shed.

In September, a water sampler detected traces of COVID-19 in one of the UC San Diego colleges. Following mass tests, two asymptomatic individuals were traced as the potential source.

–IANS

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