SANTA CLARA (CBS SF/CNN) –Verily, a subsidiary of Alphabet and sister company to Google, quickly launched its much anticipated coronavirus testing website for residents in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties late Sunday night.

But users report some confusion with using the site which was designed to allow pre-screening for coronavirus testing.

At first, users who reported they were suffering from symptoms such as “severe cough, shortness of breath, fever or other conceding symptoms” were advised they were not eligible for testing. If you went to the tool and answered “yes” to the symptoms question, the tool told you “based on your symptoms, in-person COVID-19 testing through this program is not the right fit.”

When asked why those with symptoms were being advised not to receive testing, Verily spokeswoman Carolyn Wang told CNN that the tool is meant for those who are unsure if they are infected.

“The initial question is meant to ensure that anyone who is seriously ill does not come to our sites because they are not prepared to provide medical attention,” she said in a statement. “We are early in this pilot and are going to be learning more that will help us refine this COVID-19 risk screening and testing.”

When asked why those with symptoms were being advised not to receive testing, Verily spokeswoman Carolyn Wang told CNN that the tool is meant for those who are unsure if they are infected.

“The initial question is meant to ensure that anyone who is seriously ill does not come to our sites because they are not prepared to provide medical attention,” she said in a statement. “We are early in this pilot and are going to be learning more that will help us refine this COVID-19 risk screening and testing.”

Verily later updated the questionnaire to ask if users are experiencing “severe symptoms,” and to emphasize that the tool is not for those with such symptoms.

The tool still advises those who report severe symptoms to “seek medical attention” and refers those visitors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

The project has been surrounded by confusion since it was first made public by President Donald Trump during a speech to the nation on Friday.

In the speech, Trump said: “Google is going to develop a website — it’s going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past — to determine if a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location.”

Officials at Verily took to social media Friday night posting on Twitter that the tool will first target the growing coronavirus outbreak in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing. Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time.”

“We appreciate the support of government officials and industry partners and thank the Google engineers who have volunteered to be part of this effort.”
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