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More COVID-test vending machines headed to Bay Area: Here’s what you need to know

The new vending machines dispensing coronavirus test kits at the Oakland International Airport will soon roll out more widely in the Bay Area and beyond.

Wellness 4 Humanity, the digital health company that designed the vending machines, is set to distribute more of them in major cities throughout the U.S., including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas. The machines were developed in partnership with San Francisco-based tech company Swyft Inc.

The company also launched its first vending machine Monday in New York and plans to get 1,000 more up and running in the next three to six months.

“We’re trying to be the Redbox of testing,” said Pavel Stuchlik, co-founder of Houston-based Wellness 4 Humanity, refering to the DVD rental-kiosk company. “The goal is to go into every major neighborhood” to provide additional coronavirus testing, he said.

UC San Diego launched similar vending machines at the beginning of its winter quarter on Jan. 2 as part of its “Return to Learn” program for in-person instruction, university spokesperson Christine Clark said.

She said testing has increased significantly with the new method. The machines, supplied by vendor USelectIt, distribute 2,000 test kits a day.

From March 2019 to January 2021, the university tested 100,000 students, Clark said. In January alone, that number is at 44,000.

Here is what we know so far about the Wellness 4 Humanity vending machines:

Where can I find a vending machine in the Bay Area?

So far, Wellness 4 Humanity has vending machines available at Oakland International at both airport terminals in contactless kioks.

Stuchlik says the company hopes to install vending machines at grocery stores, school campuses, shopping malls and all major airports, including San Francisco International.

How does it work?

Individuals must purchase a COVID-19 test kit on the company’s website. You will then receive an email confirmation with a QR code to scan into the vending machine to collect the kit.

Each kit includes a Saliva RT-PCR Test, a return shipping label, user guide and a biohazard bag.

The saliva sample has to be sent via FedEx, according to Oakland International officials.

How long does it take to get results?

Individuals will receive their test results via a mobile app in 24 to 48 hours.

How accurate are the results?

According to the company’s website, the test kits are 99.99% accurate.

How much are the test kits?

The test kits range from $130 to $150, depending on location, according to Stuchlik.

Can health insurance cover the cost of the test kit?

Yes — depending on your health care plan. The company recommends that individuals check with their provider to see if they qualify for reimbursement.

What if I don’t have health insurance?

Wellness 4 Humanity currently does not have an option for people who are uninsured. Stuchlik says the company plans to raise money to provide tests to people who don’t have insurance.

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Original article posted by MSN Money


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