Clemson offering community members limited free testing

By Riley Morningstar
Courtesy The Journal

CLEMSON — After working all semester to launch an in-house saliva-based COVID-19 testing laboratory, Clemson University is now offering free and limited testing to the public.

Now through Dec. 18, Clemson is offering free COVID-19 saliva testing for a limited number of community members at Memorial Stadium on a first-come, first-serve basis in partnership with testing facilitator Rymedi. Registration for testing is mandatory prior to arrival and can be accessed at Parking for testing is available at any orange space in the C-3 lot (Lot 5 for football parking).

Clemson officials credited a $6.9 million grant through Gov. Henry McMaster and the S.C. Legislature’s Joint Bond Review Committee to expand clinical laboratory improvement amendments (CLIA) in late October for the ability to conduct the tests.

“We appreciate the financial commitment from Governor McMaster and the General Assembly to develop our on-campus CLIA lab, which played a critical role in our ability to conduct a successful fall semester,” Clemson president Jim Clements said in a release. “With the majority of our students away from campus now, we are excited to offer this testing opportunity for our community.”

Saliva-based testing is shown to provide faster testing and less-invasive samples rather than those taken from the nasal cavity.

Clemson expects to perform 150 tests per day, initially, with the ability to increase capacity. When the lab becomes fully operational, officials expect to process 5,000 samples daily and return results on the same day.

Since June, Clemson has performed more than 130,000 tests on employees and students. A spokesperson for Clemson told The Journal the school has spent approximately $6.5 million on testing. The official estimated Clemson spends anywhere from $67-$85 per test through an outside vendor. With Clemson’s own testing lab up and running, costs are lower at approximately $20 per test.