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CWRU offers COVID-19 tests in vending machines to help meet demand

vending machine with COVID-19 tests
Case Western Reserve University
Vending Machines at Case Western Reserve University are now used to dispense free PCR COVID tests to students, staff and faculty.

Vending machines are no longer just for snacks and chewing gum. Students, faculty and staff at Case Western Reserve University can now get free PCR COVID-19 tests from one of a dozen vending machines on campus.

Megan Koeth, Executive Director of Resiliency at Case Western Reserve University
Koeth says they have a way of monitoring test results if someone doesn't report them.

Executive Director of Resiliency, Megan Koeth, says the university's goal is to make sure everyone is getting tested.

"With the PCR test, since it is through our lab, we know what the results are. So our health services knows and we know that the results are sent over through secure message in our electronic health records here for the university," Koeth said. "And then anyone who tests positive, with the rapid, they have to upload a picture of the rapid whether it’s negative or positive and then our nurses will verify that.”

She says the vending machines have been especially helpful during the recent surge in cases when demand has been high, and the university has been short-staffed at its testing site.

If you have your Case Western Reserve ID, you can swipe it at one of these machines, take the test at home, and drop it at one of the designated drop boxes.

Koeth says if someone does not have their ID there are other options.

“They can just let us know, and we can help arrange a pickup location. We also still do have a fixed, more traditional testing site on campus that operates during business hours for those that aren’t comfortable performing the test themselves or some people don’t have smartphones that make it a little easier,” she said.

She says they will soon add rapid antigen tests to the machines, but those will be limited because of higher demand. She says they also are looking at adding Personal Protective Equipment to the machines.

The school can process the tests at its own lab, and results are ready within 24 hours.