Even as large commercial labs like Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp are making coronavirus testing more available — they say they will have the combined capacity to run 20,000 tests each day by the end of the week — many Americans are finding it difficult if not impossible to get tested promptly.
The Chronicle has heard from a number of Bay Area residents expressing frustration about delays, redtape and conflicting information on whether, where and how they can get tested.Some have had contact with a recent traveler to countries where the virus is widespread, are showing symptoms of fever, dry cough and shortness of breath,and are in high-risk groups based on their age (50 and above) and chronic health conditions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health departments say that tests should be prioritized for patients ill enough to be hospitalized, older adults, people with chronic medical conditions and health care workers who have treated a known COVID-19 patient — but they give clinicians leeway to use their judgment to decide whether to test a patient. People who are not showing any symptoms should not try to get tested.
Here is a list of Bay Area locations where testing is available, who can get it and the conditions that must be met to get tested. Most require a doctor’s order. All providers emphasize that because of a nationwide shortage, tests are limited and are being prioritized for the sickest and highest-risk patients. The amount of time it takes to get results back varies depending on if the test is being processed in-house, which is faster, or sent to a lab at another location, which takes longer. The test entails taking a sample from a patient, which can be uncomfortable because a swab has to go up the nose or down the throat.
This is not an exhaustive list and will be updated as more testing centers open or expand, which is expected in the coming weeks. If readers hear of any other locations doing testing or would like to share their own experience, please contact reporter Catherine Ho at email@example.com.
• Kaiser Permanente has drive-through testing at its San Francisco Medical Center on Geary Boulevard and other locations, but it declined to specify where because patients have to be referred there by their doctor. After being referred, the patient will receive a time and location for drive-through testing. You must be a Kaiser member. It takes four to seven days to receive results.
• Stanford Medicine has drive-through testing for patients who have been referred by a physician. The patient then makes an appointment to goto the drive-through test at Stanford Express Care’s Hoover Pavilion location in Palo Alto, seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Patients are notified of results within 24 hours.
• UCSF is testing hospitalized patients, emergency department patients and other patients who have passed a screening for symptoms. Patients who are not hospitalized should speak to their doctor first. A doctor’s order is required. Only UCSF employeesand UCSF patients are being tested right now due to limited testing supplies.
• John Muir Health is doing testing at four urgent care centers in the Bay Area: Berkeley, Brentwood,Pleasanton and Walnut Creek. Patients should call their primary care physician first and if they don’t have one, they should call an urgent care center.Patients must have an order from a John Muir Health-affiliated doctor to get a test. Once approved, each patient will receive an appointment at one of the urgent care centers, ideally the one closest to them. Testing is also available for high-risk patients only at John Muir’s Concord and Walnut Creek emergency departments if they meet screening criteria and have respiratory symptoms.Results take four to five days.
• Carbon Health, a San Francisco-based chain of primary care and urgent care clinics, is doing testing at all of its urgent care locations in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. There are nine locations in the Bay Area. For location addresses and hours, go to Carbon Health. A doctor’s order is not needed, but Carbon Health urges patients to first use the free online coronavirus risk assessment screening tool before seeking a test. You do not have to be a Carbon Health patient to seek a test;any California resident can get one. It takes three to six days to get results.
• Forward, a San Francisco-based network of primary care centers, is offering testing for its members at its locations in Northern and Southern California, New York and Washington, D.C. Its Northern California clinic is in San Francisco’s Financial District. Patients are encouraged to first use the remote assessment feature inthe Forward app so a care team can assess who may have the virus. Those whose remote assessment indicates they are most in need are scheduled for testing. Itis available for Forward members only, but the company expects to expand the service to non-Forward members later this week. Results come back in 36 to 48 hours.
• One Medical, the San Francisco-based chain of primary care centers, is doing testing for its members who meet testing criteria in San Francisco, the East Bay, South Bay and North Bay. Patients must first be assessed by a virtual care team. If they are found to be a good candidate for testing, a doctor must approve the order before giving the patient a location and time to have a sample collected. Results comeback in two to three days.
• Hayward Fire Station 7,28270 Huntwood Avenue, 510-293-8617, is offering free testing, giving priority to first responders, health care workers and people who meet certain criteria including symptoms of fever and shortness of breath and recent travel. Results come back in as little as six hours, or the next day, in most cases.
Original Source: San Francisco Chronicle
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