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College of Pharmacy

Saliva Assay Free Expedited (SAFE) Testing

To broaden the University of South Carolina’s testing capacity and help the university maintain face-to-face classes and organizational activities, the College of Pharmacy has received state and federal authorization to collect saliva samples for COVID-19 testing.

Schedule for Sept. 28 – Oct. 2


Monday, Sept. 28

Tuesday, Sept. 29

Wednesday, Sept. 30

Thursday, Oct. 1

Friday, Oct. 2

IMPORTANT: Anyone who is experiencing symptoms should make an appointment with Student Health Services to obtain a test through the MyHealthSpace portal. Additional community testing locations are available throughout the Midlands.

 

About SAFE Testing

The Saliva Assay Free Expedited (SAFE) test is free, quick, and noninvasive and results can typically be shared within 24 hours after the sample is collected. SAFE testing is only available to current students, faculty, and staff.

A key factor in the rapid spread of COVID-19 infections across a community is that individuals can have the virus but not display symptoms. In order to monitor potential spread of this sort, public health experts have consistently noted that regular and ongoing COVID-19 testing is crucial for the successful and sustained opening of higher education institutions, specifically for face-to-face instruction.  SAFE Testing will accomplish this goal for the university community.

You should not participate in SAFE testing if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. These include, but are not limited to, coughing, fever, sensory loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath, headaches and/or sore throat. Instead, visit MyHealthSpace to schedule a telemedicine appointment to be evaluated by a provider.

If you have questions, call the Coronavirus Phone Bank at 803-576-8511
 

How to Participate in SAFE Testing

Students, faculty, and staff who would like to participate in SAFE testing must register using the web-based portal. Your network username/VIP ID and password is required to enter. If you have not yet set up your multifactor authentication, you will need to do that first. Multifactor authentication instructions are located at the bottom of the log in screen. During registration you will be asked to complete a HIPAA authorization and consent form to participate in the SAFE Test. You will also need to provide contact information for receiving your SAFE Test results.

SAFE Testing samples will be collected and coded in a manner that ensures confidentiality and protects privacy. Participation is entirely voluntary. Positive test results will be shared with Student Health Services. SHS will offer additional support should you test positive.  Positive results will also be shared with university housing if you live in an on-campus residence hall.

  • Do not eat or drink anything (including gum, candy or nasal spray) or use any tobacco products for at least 30 minutes prior to your SAFE test. Avoid water for 10 minutes prior to the administration of your test.
     
  • Remember that, at the SAFE testing site, you will be asked to provide a saliva sample (5 ml or one teaspoon), so we encourage you to think about some of your favorite foods while walking to the testing site.  Those thoughts of pizza, cheese fries, or milkshake will stimulate the saliva glands in your mouth and make your test go quicker.  You can also move your tongue back and forth in your mouth to stimulate saliva flow.
  1. Understand the Environment: Generally, the testing site will consist of two tables, each staffed with someone who can provide assistance if you have questions. Each table will also have stacks of trays containing sample tubes and racks where filled sample tubes can be placed. Between the tables will be rows of chairs placed 10 feet from one another. Following the traffic flow, you will go to a table to pick up an empty sample tube, register your barcode, and then head to an empty chair. By spreading out over a large area, you can enter the site, pick up your sample tube, provide your sample and return your sample tube in a safe and physically distant manner.
     
  2. Wait, Then Pick Up: When you see a chair open and there is an opening at one of the staffed tables, go by and pick up your sample tube. You do not have to check in with the staff member – just walk up, grab a sample tube from the rack and head to your chair.

  3. Sit or Stand: When you get to your chair, you can choose to sit or stand at that location.  We have found that many individuals prefer to stand, but that is your choice.

  4. Register: If you have not registered, please do so now via this link: sc.edu/salivatestapp

  5. Scan: Follow directions on the web portal. Scan the barcode on your sample tube. Using an iPhone? You must use the Safari browser for barcode scanning, not Google Chrome.

  6. Consent: If you have not already agreed to the HIPAA authorization and testing consent, you must do that now. Within the web portal, select the “register sample” button and then the “scan barcode” button. This will activate the camera on your phone.

  7. Enable: You must “agree” to enable the app’s access to your camera. Scan the barcode on the sample tube. If scanning is not operational on your phone, type the number below the barcode manually into the field labeled “barcode” and select the “submit” button. The barcode is now linked to your information.

  8. Provide Sample: Collect naturally occurring saliva in your mouth and deposit it up to the 5ml mark of your barcoded sample tube. (This is the equivalent of one teaspoon.) If you see bubbles in your saliva sample, wait until the bubbles subside before continuing to deposit your saliva sample. Sample tube space taken up by saliva bubbles will not count towards reaching the 5 ml volume required for testing.

  9. Close the Sample Tube Securely: When your saliva sample reaches the 5 ml mark, without visible bubbles, your sample is complete. Secure the sample tube lid.

  10. Verify: Following safe social distancing guidelines and when space is available, show your sample tube to a staffer for them to verify the 5 ml volume.  Carefully place your sample tube into a rack on the exit table. Do not hand it to a staffer.

  11. Sanitize: Use hand sanitizer on your way out.
  1. Parking & Bus Route: The test facility at 650 Lincoln (next door to Tropical Smoothie Café) is located in close proximity to student parking and a shuttle stop.  Walking or using the UofSC Shuttle Service are likely the simplest options.  Parking options are determined by level of parking permit and lots where you have permission to park.  Those with no parking pass, can use the Discovery Garage where you can pay by the hour.  For more details on parking, please visit UofSC Parking and Transportation Services.

  2. Wait in Line: The university has provided markers on the sidewalk outside the location that will enable individuals to line up in a physically distanced manner.  If you arrive and the line has exceeded the capacity of the sidewalk, we ask that you leave and come back when the line is more manageable.

  3. Pick Up Your Sample Tube: When you walk in the front entrance, there will be a staffed table to the left.  If you have any questions, you can ask the staffers at this time.  On the table, there will be a rack containing collection tubes.  Just grab your sample tube.

  4. Pick a Chair: Inside the room, you will see chairs placed 10 feet apart from one another.  Survey the room to find a spot that is open and walk to that chair.

  5. Sit or Stand: When you get to your chair, you can choose to sit or stand at that location.  We have found that many individuals prefer to stand, but that is your choice.

  6. Register: If you have not registered, please do so now via this link: sc.edu/salivatestapp.

  7. Scan: Follow directions on the web portal. Scan the barcode on your sample tube. Using an iPhone? You must use the Safari browser for barcode scanning, not Google Chrome.

  8. Consent: If you have not already agreed to the HIPAA authorization and testing consent, you must do that now. Within the web portal, select the “register sample” button and then the “scan barcode” button. This will activate the camera on your phone.

  9. Enable: You must “agree” to enable the app’s access to your camera. Scan the barcode on the sample tube. If scanning is not operational on your phone, type the number below the barcode manually into the field labeled “barcode” and select the “submit” button. The barcode is now linked to your information.

  10. Provide Sample: Collect naturally occurring saliva in your mouth and deposit it up to the 5ml mark of your barcoded sample tube. (This is the equivalent of one teaspoon.) If you see bubbles in your saliva sample, wait until the bubbles subside before continuing to deposit your saliva sample. Sample tube space taken up by saliva bubbles will not count towards reaching the 5 ml volume required for testing.

  11. Close the Sample Tube Securely: When your saliva sample reaches the 5 ml mark, without visible bubbles, your sample is complete. Secure the sample tube lid.

  12. Verify: Following safe social distancing guidelines and when space is available, show your sample tube to a staffer for them to verify the 5 ml volume. Carefully place your sample tube into a rack on the exit table. Do not hand it to a staffer.

  13. Sanitize: Use hand sanitizer on your way out.

SAFE testing participants will receive an email to your university account stating that results have been uploaded and a link to the secure portal to retrieve results. While there are a number of variables that can impact the length of time between your test and notification of your results, we will make all efforts to ensure that participants will be able to receive results within 24 to 48 hours.

  • If SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, is detected in your sample, you will receive an email from the system notifying you of your test result.  Additionally, you will receive a phone call from a physician in Student Health Services who will answer questions and provide resources about next steps.  It is important that you speak with the SHS physician when that individual calls.

  • If your test is negative, your displayed results will indicate this result. Your sample may also be rejected by the lab if the sample cannot be tested due to sampling errors – if this is the case, you will be offered the opportunity to provide another sample. Even if your test is negative, you are encouraged to continue to maintain safe practices such as avoiding large groups, wearing your face covering, maintain physical distancing, and monitoring yourself for symptoms.

SAFE test participation assistance

If you believe that you might need personal assistance in providing your sample for the SAFE testing for any reason, please email salivatest@cop.sc.edu to determine how best to facilitate your participation in the program.

How often you should get a COVID-19 test

The SAFE test is free, even for multiple tests.  It is completely acceptable to take the SAFE test more than once and on a regular basis.  We encourage you to test as often as reasonable but not more than once every three days if showing signs of illness, or once a week if healthy.  Other situations that may impact your decision to test include: (a) time between tests; (b) following situations where you were unable to maintain physical distancing for an extended period, or (c) when you believe that you have been around an individual with the virus.

Benefits of regular COVID-19 testing

COVID-19 is a communicable disease that is easily spread. Re-testing is the very best way to protect your friends and loved ones with whom you come into contact. Regular testing has the opportunity of detecting the virus early. Early detection makes it possible to identify viral infection providing the option of early intervention, treatment and providing necessary information so that appropriate isolation or quarantine procedures can begin, further protecting the people you see most often. Using this testing approach, we can greatly reduce the spread of the virus.

SAFE testing vs. Student Health Center testing

Both SAFE testing using saliva and the nasal swab testing utilized at Student Health Services are safe and both have been scientifically proven to be reliable.  The only instance where an individual must test at SHS is when they are displaying symptoms.

 


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