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Signs in the University of Georgia's Legion Pool parking lot denote the site as a COVID-19 surveillance testing site in Athens, Georgia, on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach; @taylormckenzie_photo)

In an email on Wednesday, the University of Georgia announced new incentives for participants of its surveillance testing program located at Legion Field.

Starting on Oct. 8, UGA will give the next 1,000 participants a buy one get one free gift card to Jittery Joe’s. The university also said it would give participants waiting in line free Starbucks coffee and tea beginning on Oct. 12 and hinted at future giveaways, such as special masks and T-shirts.

The surveillance site will also accommodate same day and walk-up appointments when available. 

It is also becoming easier to get tested, according to the email. Through a partnership with the UGA College of Public Health and Augusta University, UGA will offer free, walk-in asymptomatic-only testing to the university community for a limited time at three different locations — the West Lawn at the Tate Student Center on Oct. 7, George Hall at the Health Sciences Campus on Oct. 15 and Mahler Hall at the Georgia Center on Oct. 20.

This comes at a time when the rate of surveillance testing is declining. The university has the capacity to test up to 500 asymptomatic volunteers per weekday, an improvement from the beginning of the semester.

However, from Sept. 28-Oct. 2, UGA only averaged 273 surveillance tests per day. The week of Sept. 14 had the most surveillance tests, with UGA conducting an average of 394.8 tests per day. The decline in testing has occurred among students, faculty and staff.

Adequate testing allows public health officials to trace the virus and get the virus under control. Improvements to UGA’s surveillance testing rate could help the university find cases that would have otherwise gone undetected and stop future outbreaks.

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