About one in four of the people who were screened and tested for the coronavirus at the new drop-in testing center in Hayward on Monday had positive test results — a total of 54 cases in the center's first day of operation.
As KPIX reports, the first testing site of its kind in the state tested a total of 207 people on Monday, and has continued testing hundreds over the past two days — with arriving patients first screened for a set of criteria to receive a free test, including having a fever over 100 degrees and any known or suspected exposure to an infected person.
The testing site, launched by the City of Hayward at its Fire Station 7 (28270 Huntwood Avenue), does not require doctor referrals or insurance, and is working in collaboration with Avellino Lab in Menlo Park to provide test results with six to 25 hours. Worried and/or symptomatic people have come from all over the Bay Area to the facility, and confirmed cases are reported both to the patients' county of origin and to the Centers for Disease Control.
As Captain Don Nicholson of the Hayward Fire Department told the Mercury News earlier this week, "It’s for anybody, regardless of residency. You don’t have to live in the city of Hayward, you don’t have to be a citizen. We'll take anybody from anywhere."
The center and the lab have the capacity to process up to 370 samples per day.
Coronavirus testing taking place right now in Hayward, CA at 28270 Huntwood Ave just off of Tennyson. 350 testing kits. 9am-6pm. Free. Immigration status doesn’t matter BUT must have symptoms including at least 100 degree fever or you will be turned away. @kron4news pic.twitter.com/JoN7OtlRTR— Will Tran (@KRON4WTran) March 23, 2020
Screening and sample-taking take place in tents outside the fire station, and those waiting in line are told to either stay in their cars or wait in an adjacent park. Drive-up and walk-up lines are allowed to form only until 10 a.m. each morning, and then again between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., or until the maximum number of tests available that day has been reached. Due to pent-up demand for tests, the site was overwhelmed on Monday and officials needed to institute stricter rules to prevent crowding.
The testing center is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but in a release today the city says the site will close early Thursday and possibly Friday in order to conduct mobile testing for vulnerable populations in Alameda County.
Other drive-through testing sites have opened in other parts of the Bay Area, however all others require appointments and doctor referrals.
If you think you are experiencing symptoms, the best idea is to first contact your doctor's office by phone and seek out a testing site in your immediate area.