SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Mobile drive-thru coronavirus testing is ramping up in the Bay Area, albeit slowly and selectively.
Two sites, one at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds and the other at the San Mateo County Event Center, are invitation-only, operated by Verily Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
When testing launched Monday, the two sites completed 30 tests. As of Tuesday evening, the total for both sites had reached 320, according to Governor Gavin Newsom.
To participate, patients must apply online, not exhibit symptoms of the disease, and pass the online screening. Once approved, test subjects will receive a phone call or email. Anyone who arrives at the gates with no appointment, even if they have their own doctor’s note, will be turned away by the heavy security.
APPLY FOR TESTING ONLINE: Project Baseline
Santa Clara County Board President Cindy Chavez toured the San Jose site on Tuesday.
“I am very excited. I think there are more people in our community who are looking for more access to tests. But here, you will only be invited in if you have a reservation,” said Chavez.
The drive-thru sites have white tents and orange cones directing traffic. Workers wore masks and gloves and were equipped with long nasal swabs, similar to those used in South Korea.
Daniel Hom was the third person in line to get the swab.
“Oh my god! It’s a nasopharyngeal swab. It goes way up there to the back of your throat. They kind of warn you. I went, ‘Whoa!’” said Hom.
Hom applied online Sunday night and got the confirmation the next day. As a pharmacist in his 70s, Hom considers himself high risk.
“It would be good to know, just for comfort level,” said Hom.
Hom is concerned about privacy, and both Verily and Alphabet’s ability to keep his data secure. But being healthy patient, with no symptoms, Hom said the Verily test was the fastest way to know for sure.
“Be careful, be skeptical, check things out, Just generically speaking, do I trust Alphabet? In this situation, this narrow situation, yes,” said Hom.
Hom will receive his results within two to four days.
Verily released an email statement that said in part:
“We will retain an individual’s information as long as necessary to fulfill the purposes of the Baseline COVID-19 testing program or until applicable emergency declarations related to COVID-19 expire or are otherwise terminated, whichever is later. Thereafter, we will delete information collected through the Baseline COVID-19 Program, unless an individual separately authorizes further retention and use of information.”