Where can I get tested locally for COVID-19?
As of July 8, 2020 testing for active COVID-19 (by nasopharyngeal swab) for symptomatic patients continues to be available at Stanford through their Express Care program by appointment. Drive-through testing at the Emergency Department is no longer available. Appointments for Express Care can be made online through MyHealth or the MyHealth app, or by calling (650) 498-9000. Note there has been a significant increase in demand for testing since July and there are longer wait times to get an appointment and receive results. We’re seeing this nationally, not just in our county.
With Express Care, our experience is that you will first get a call back from a nurse to screen you clinically, who will then schedule you for your drive-by test, which takes only a few minutes. The testing sites are at the Hoover Pavilion and at the Galvez Street location in Palo Alto from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. Patients with positive results will be called back and care plans established. Negative results can be found online on MyHealth after 24 – 36 hours.
There is also testing at GOHEALTH, which is part of the Dignity Health system. They have an urgent care site in Redwood City that tests adults and children and also require a video visit with their MD prior to scheduling your nasal swab for viral testing. Again, there is high demand and limited availability. It is IMPORTANT to note that Dignity Health uses the COVID PCR test developed by Abbot. This test has less sensitivity than the Stanford and Labcorp tests. A lower sensitivity test means there is a higher percentage of false negative results. Bottom line, while this test is faster (typically same day results) it is less accurate.
Testing is also available through PAMF (Palo Alto Medical Foundation) Urgent Care “drive through”, but only in selected locations (Palo Alto and San Carlos), and only to PAMF patients with an order from their PAMF primary care doctor. Kaiser has a similar program for their patients.
If you live in San Francisco, you can learn here about the test sites available throughout the city.
And lastly, and a newly discovered option which includes availability for children (see more below), Santa Clara County Testing — no video visit or doctor’s order required, multiple sites located in Santa Clara, San Jose, and Morgan Hill. Testing is for ASYMPTOMATIC patients only. Residency in Santa Clara County is not required. Again, for children and adults who DO NOT have symptoms of COVID-19. Testing appointments are made through their website, or download Santa Clara County’s MyHealth App for iOS or Android.
**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**
Asymptomatic patients (people with no symptoms) who would like to be screened for active disease (“asymptomatic shedding”) with a nasal or nasopharyngeal swab test now have many options of varying quality. We recommend the following two for their combination of convenience and reliability. NOTE these options do NOT test children under the age of 18 (See the next FAQ below!) We are actively monitoring testing options for more availability and will be adding to this area as soon as we have reliable information:
- LabCorp Pixel: A home test, this is most convenient and has a fairly quick turn-around. Ordered online, it is shipped via FedEx for next-day delivery, picked up from your home by FedEx to be shipped back with next-day delivery upon notification by you that it’s ready for pick-up, and results take 24 hours after arrival back at their lab. If you swab the same day you receive the kit, it’s a total turn-around time of 72 hours (labs are processed over the weekend as well), and we found the whole process to take only about 15 minutes of total coordination time (ordering, collecting specimen, calling for pick-up by FedEx).
- Project Baseline / Verily (working with the county public health system): With 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.