Kaiser Permanente opens “drive-through” coronavirus testing to bolster screening efforts.
The nonprofit healthcare organization announced that free drive-through testing would be available for those showing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, coughing and difficulty breathing).
Tents have been raised outside Geary Boulevard Clinic and various other locations to limit the risk of spreading the virus within the hospitals. Patients that meet the criteria will need a doctor’s order to make an appointment before proceeding to one of the alternative facilities.
Referred patients will be able to go to the drive-throughs where nasal swabs will be taken and processed at participating county Public Health departments and other commercial labs, according to Kaiser.
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— Jessica Christian (@jachristian) March 11, 2020
Once samples are taken patients will return home to self-quarantine until results are received. Kaiser has promised not to allow screening and testing costs to be a barrier for any affected members. However, if patients test positive for the coronavirus, all treatments and associated costs will be charged according to members’ plans.
More are expected to open at locations across the US, but supplies remain low. On Tuesday Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state of California only had 8,227 tests available, according to the update. Severe cases and individuals with higher risk factors are likely to be prioritized for testing until more essential testing components become available.