Verily -- Alphabet's healthcare brand -- isn't just creating a website to help northern Californians determine whether they need a test for COVID-19. It's also piloting drive-thru testing. It has opened two sites, one in Riverside County and another in Sacramento County, and today, it shared a video that shows how the COVID-19 testing works.
First, Verily asks that you complete an online screener. If you qualify for a test, you'll get an appointment time. When you arrive, you'll check in and show your license through your closed car window. Then, staff will match your ID with a lab kit and attach the info to your windshield. You'll drive forward to a sample collection station, where you'll roll down your window so staff can collect a nasal swab.
Your results should arrive two to four days after testing, but Verily warns that this may take longer due to lab capacities. If you test positive, you'll get a phone call, and if you test negative, you'll receive an email.
The testing is part of a collaboration between Verily's Project Baseline and the state of California. At the moment, it is provided for free. A few US senators have asked how Alphabet will protect COVID-19 screening data. Project Baseline says that it is "committed to maintaining high privacy standards and keeping your data safe."
A major public health challenge during the coronavirus pandemic has been a shortage of reliable tests, without which it's impossible to understand the scope or spread of COVID-19. The FDA is taking steps to fast-track testing tech, and earlier this month, a Gates Foundation-backed project said it could deliver home testing kits to Seattle within the "coming weeks." In its first week of operations, Verily tested over 1,200 individuals, and it's working to scale its testing capacity.