As testing expands for the novel coronavirus testing centers have been opening up around the Bay Area in recent weeks. But in most cases, you can't just show up and demand a test. Here's what you need to know about COVID-19 testing in the Bay Area:
Who can get tested for the virus? Who qualifies for a coronavirus test varies a bit from testing center to testing center. At some locations, you'll need a referral from a doctor. In other cases you'll just need to call ahead and set a time. (Details on a location-to-location basis are below.) Because the number of tests at each location are limited, it's always good to call ahead before you head over. It may seem obvious, but if you don't have any symptoms of COVID-19 and you're not a member of a high-risk group, you probably can't get tested yet. The CDC has an online-self checker that can help you navigate any symptoms you may be feeling. How do the tests work? Many of the testing centers in the Bay Area that are open to the public are drive-thru only. At these testing centers for the public, the first step is getting pre-screened, where a testing center worker will check you for coronavirus symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.). Then if you move on to the next phase, someone will take a swab from the back of your throat and send the sample off to a lab. It can take 24 hours (or in some cases longer) to get results. Tests administered in a hospital or clinical setting may look a little differently.
Where are tests being administered in the Bay Area? Here are the testing centers that are open to members of the public: Bolinas: The small Marin County town is offering every resident a free COVID-19 test starting April 20 thanks to a UCSF partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg initiative. Bolinas residents can schedule a test here. Fremont: The testing center at 7200 Stevenson Blvd. doesn't require a medical referral. Tests are available for symptomatic members of the public. It's drive-thru only (no walk-up tests allowed) and you'll have to wait in your car. Schedule a test in advance by calling (510) 789-7231. Hayward: Tests are open to symptomatic or otherwise high-risk members of the public at Cal State East Bay. No appointment is necessary. (Note: This testing center was previously located at Hayward's Fire Station #7, but was moved to Cal State East Bay on April 14.) Oakland: The testing center at the old Kaiser Convention Center (10 Tenth St.) is open for those who are at high risk of contracting the virus, which includes healthcare providers, grocery/food bank/restaurant employees, homeless service workers, funeral home employees, childcare workers, caregivers and more. State Senator Nancy Skinner announced the testing center was opening up to anyone in Alameda County that is experiencnig symptoms starting on April 23. The drive-thru testing center is by appointment only, and you can register for an appointment here. Pleasanton: A COVID-19 testing center run by Stanford Health Care opened at the Alameda County Fairgrounds on April 27. It's open to Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore residents who are experiencing symptoms or are high risk for the virus. The testing site is located at Gate 12 and you do not need an appointment. More information can be found here.
Mayor London Breed announced the city would be opening a drive-thru and walk-thru testing center at Piers 30-32. At first, the center wasonly open to "frontline workers," which included sheriff's staff, city police, firefighters, paramedics, 911 dispatchers and city healthcare workers. On April 22, Mayor Breed announced the testing site would be opened up to all essential workers, in the private and public sectors. People can make an appointment to get a test here.
UCSF is also partnering with the Chan Zuckerberg initiative to test every resident of a "densely populated tract" of the Mission District, bound by South Van Ness Avenue to the west, Harrison Street to the east, 23rd Street to the north and Cesar Chavez to the south. Volunteers will visit people's homes to conduct testing starting April 25. Testing sites will also be set up in the community
Sonoma County Two new community COVID-19 testing sites have opened in Santa Rosa and Petaluma. They are open to all residents regardless of whether they have coronavirus symptoms or not. Appointments are available on weekdays, and can be made at https://lhi.care/covidtesting. Residents without internet access can call 1-888-634-1123. Specific test locations and hours will be provided when making an appointment. Carbon Health clinics around the Bay Area are offering COVID-19 tests. You'll have to get assessed online first here. Hospitals and health care providers, including Kaiser, UCSF, John Muir Health and Stanford, are all offering tests to patients. To be tested through any of these providers, you'll need a referral from a member physician. Verily, a Google sister company, is also offering tests at two Bay Area locations: the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds and the San Mateo County Event Center. To get tested at either location, you'll need to be pre-screened online and secure an appointment. Find out more at Verily's Project Baseline website. The above list is not exhaustive and there may other be providers not mentioned that are offering coronavirus testing. This story will be updated as more testing centers open around the Bay Area. If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.