How Can I Get Tested for COVID-19? – The Village Doctor

How Can I Get Tested for COVID-19?

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A quick note on PCR vs antigen tests: We recommend PCR testing for our patients whenever possible. At a public health level, screening with rapid antigen tests are a good option for quickly and cheaply identifying patients who are shedding large amounts of virus and likely to be the most contagious. At an individual level, however, antigen tests have a fairly high false negative rate compared to the more sophisticated PCR method. We are not offering any “quick” or “rapid” antigen tests through our office as we do not feel the sensitivity (ability to detect disease) is high enough.  

**We recommend the options starred below for their combination of relative convenience and reliability. We are actively monitoring testing options and are continuously adding to this list. If you are using the test as a screening test before travel, please make sure that you will have results back within the acceptable time frame and that the airline or location you’ll be traveling to accepts the form of testing you choose.

**Evera Home Testing – PCR nasal swab obtained from you at your home by an Evera representative.  On demand appointments, flexible weekend hours and 24-48 hour turnaround. $150.

How: Visit the website and call 415-964-2676.

Where: In the comfort of your own home

Who: Adults and children age 5+. Asymptomatic or symptomatic.

**Stanford Drive Through Testing (no appointment or order needed) – PCR nasal swab sample. Patients are tested in the order they arrive. Wait times can vary with demand. This is the only site currently offering travel clearance testing.

How: Drive-through (arrive during open hours, no appointment or order is needed)

Where: Stanford University, 279 Galvez Street, Palo Alto, CA 94305 Driving Directions

Hours: Monday – Sunday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

Who: Adults. Drive-through, pedestrians, and bicyclists accepted.

**Stanford Express Care — PCR testing, now mostly nasal swabs (nasopharyngeal still used if you have symptoms or an upcoming procedure). Testing can now be scheduled without the need for a prior video conference appointment screen.  

How: Register online through MyHealth if not already a MyHealth patient. To schedule your appointment through MyHealth, go to ‘Appointments,’ ‘Make Appointment’ and select ‘COVID Testing,’ or download their App for iOS or Android.  To schedule over the phone, call (650) 736-5211.  Having a primary care physician at Stanford is not required.

Where: Arrillaga Center for Sports and Recreation, 341 Galvez Street. Hours 9AM to 7PM.

Who: Children and adults. Asymptomatic or Symptomatic.

Note: 

-Priority is given to those who are symptomatic or were exposed to confirmed or suspected COVID contacts. 

-If you need a test within 72 hours of a particular date, log on to MyHealth to schedule your testing appointment at least a week in advance to grab a spot as close to 72 hours before as you can to allow sufficient lab turn-around time.

**San Mateo County Testing / CurativePCR oropharyngeal sample. Drive-through testing throughout San Mateo County, most reliably available M-F 1p-8p at the San Mateo County Event Center location.

How: Schedule online through the Curative website. 

Where: Several San Mateo County locations.

Who: Adults and children age 5+. Asymptomatic or  Symptomatic.

**Virus Geeks Drive-Through Testing – PCR nasal swab test.

How: Sign up online here.

Where: San Mateo Marriott, 1770 S Amphlett Blvd, San Mateo, CA. Monday-Saturday, 7a-6p, Sunday 10a-6p.  Most appointments book same- or next-day.

Who: Adults

**LabCorp Pixel — PCR test of nasal swab sample collected at home. This is convenient and a fairly quick turn-around. 

How: Order online through the link above, filling out the questionnaire. The kit is mailed FedEx Express (next day), picked up from your home by FedEx Express to send back next-day (not available to send back over the weekend), and results have been taking 24-48 hours after arrival back at their lab. We found the whole process to take only about 15 minutes of total coordination time (ordering, collecting specimen, calling for pick-up).

Where: A self-collected kit at your home

Who: Adults (over age 18), Symptomatic or Asymptomatic but live or work in a high-risk environment (defined as ‘communal,’ meaning you come within 6 feet of multiple people throughout the day). 

**Quest Direct — PCR test of nasal swab sample collected at home. Ordered online through Quest Labs’ Quest Direct program. 

How: Order online through the link above, filling out the questionnaire. The kit is next-day mailed to you and you next-day mail it back. Results available within 48 hours of receipt by the lab.

Where: A self-collected kit at your home

Who: Adults (over age 18), Symptomatic or Asymptomatic but live or work in a high-risk environment (defined as ‘communal,’ meaning you come within 6 feet of multiple people throughout the day). 

**The IV Doc COVID PCR testing in the comfort of your own home. Quick video appointment with MD prior to RN home visit to obtain the PCR test (via AccessMedical).  

How: Similar to the IV Doc for IV fluids, one calls to make an appointment, 844-843-4836.  Currently appointments are scheduling out by about a day. Same-day appointments may be available for an added fee. Results back in 24 – 48 hours (best if ordered Monday through Thursday, as things are slower over the weekend). The MD calls the patient with results. Cost: $599.

Where: From the comfort of your own home.

Who: Adults (18 and over).

**Vault Health – PCR Saliva test ordered online, self-collected at home (over a Zoom video call with a test supervisor) and mailed in, providing results within 72 hours and meeting the State of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program requirements.

How: Sign up for your kit at their website. It is recommended to order your kit at the time of booking or at least 10 days prior to your date of departure. *Note: Vault Health only ensures 24-hour lab turn-around for those ordering through their Hawaiian Airlines partnership – otherwise, they only promise a 48-72 hour lab turn-around (upon receiving your sample). Cost: $150/person.

Where: From the comfort of your own home.

Who: Adults and children (age 5 and over).

Stanford Emergency Department – Can provide same-day PCR lab results for those who need such PCR verification last-minute for a flight or procedure, or for those with urgent symptoms.  

How: Walk-in at the Stanford Emergency Department. There is a reasonably efficient “swab only” path in the emergency department now in which patients have found the wait time to be reasonable (generally 1-2 hours).  This will be charged as an emergency department visit – not cheap, but can be reasonable depending on insurance.

Where: Stanford ED, 1199 Welch Road

Who: Adults and children

San Mateo County Testing / Project Baseline — PCR nasal swab drive-through test (no video visit or doctor’s order required).  Working with the county public health system through Google’s company Verily.  

How: Schedule online through the Project Baseline website.  Select a nearby location – in our experience San Mateo is often unavailable (they stop at 500 tests/day), but San Jose often is.

Where: Drive-through testing options in Redwood City and San Mateo, appointments can be scheduled online 48-72 hours in advance, and results take 3-4 days.

Who: Adults (age 18 or older). Asymptomatic or Symptomatic.

Santa Clara County Testing — Drive-through test (no video visit or doctor’s order required), but backed up about 2 weeks (as of 8/12/20).  

How: Schedule online here.

Where: Multiple sites located in Santa Clara, San Jose, and Morgan Hill.  

Who: Children and adults who DO NOT have symptoms of COVID-19 (ASYMPTOMATIC patients only). Residency in Santa Clara County is not required.

Dignity | GoHealth Urgent Care — Video appointment prior to drive-through test.  These appointments often book up with no available slots online.

How: Visit their Website to schedule a video visit.

Who: Children and adults, symptomatic and asymptomatic.

Where: Testing sites in Redwood City, San Bruno, the Castro, Mill Valley, Piedmont (Oakland).

Note: GoHealth uses the Abbott point of care test which has less sensitivity than the tests listed above. This means higher false negatives. However, results are available within an hour. Priority is given to those who are symptomatic or were exposed to confirmed or suspected COVID contacts.

Color Genomics / SF.Gov — Free testing for those who live or work in San Francisco using Color Genomics. This is part of  a COVID response group which offers multiple test sites around the city. 

How: Schedule online here.

Where: Multiple sites in SF.

Who: Asymptomatic testing for those who live or work in SF.

Walgreens — PCR test of nasal swab. Some sites also have rapid test available.  Drive-through testing by appointment only. Local sites include Cupertino and Daly City.

How: Complete the screening survey on the website to determine eligibility and sign up at the website.

Who: Adults and children (website says age 3+)

Where: 

Note: Website says results available in 3 days.

Albertsons/Safeway — PCR test of saliva sample collected at home. Kit can be picked up from Albertsons/Safeway or mailed to you. You Fedex it back (drop it in a dropbox or schedule same-day pick-up).  Samples should not be collected on Friday or Saturday.

How: Fill out an online questionnaire and have your test picked up by a designated person or delivered to your home

Who: Adults and children (no age restrictions, but child needs to be able to produce enough saliva to fill to the line on the tube provided)

Where: Available at several local Albertsons/Safeway locations, including Menlo Park, Redwood City, Palo Alto

Note: Website says results will be delivered to you via text or e-mail within 72 hours. The COVID test we offer does not currently meet the requirements for pre-travel testing to Hawaii. Tests are $139.99. They do not directly bill insurance for the test, but you may be able to submit your receipt to your insurance company for reimbursement.

Costco — PCR test of saliva sample collected at home, coordinated through AZOVA.  **Kits with ($139.99) and without ($129.99) video observation are available.

How: After ordering online, the kit is delivered next-day when you submit your registration on the Azova website by 10:30am MST M-F.  Drop off kit at UPS.

Who: Age requirements not listed

Where: Website states the kit is only available to order online

Note: Results are available in 24-48 hours with video observation, 72 hours without.  Note some travel requirements require video observation. They do not directly bill insurance for the test, but you may be able to submit your receipt to your insurance company for reimbursement.

PAMF and Kaiser — Established primary care patients at PAMF or Kaiser can be tested at their specific drive-through locations with approval by a visit with their PAMR or Kaiser primary care MD.

**If you get tested through any of the above pathways, please be sure to keep your phone handy and answer unknown numbers to avoid delays in processing and getting your results**

Jennifer Abrams, MD, January 27, 2021