Kaiser Permanente medical facilities in Northern California are planning to open drive-up coronavirus testing for members who meet the criteria for a test, the health care nonprofit announced Wednesday.
The locations will enable Kaiser to safely test patients who may have COVID-19 while protectiing its own staff and minimizing potential exposure in the greater community, Kaiser said.
Patients who meet the Centers for Disease Control criteria for a test will receive a doctor’s order and an appointment to arrive for testing at one of the specially-equipped testing sites, Kaiser said. Medical staff will take necessary swabs for COVID-19, Flu and respiratory virus (RSV) testing while the patient remains in their car.
Patients will then return home under self-isolation to await the test results, which will come from labs with county Public Health departments and other commercial labs that offer coronavirus testing, Kaiser said.
Kaiser said it is following all current CDC and state public health guidance, including protective equipment and protocols for screening, testing, isolation and treatment.
A Kaiser spokesman said the drive-up facilities are not at all locations at this time, but "we expect all of our medical centers to eventually have some form of alternative testing sites. We are communicating directly with patients as to availability, location and hours when they are scheduled for testing."
In accordance with public health officials' advice, Kaiser urges those experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus to first call in to their doctor's office and do not walk in to a medical clinic, urgent care facility or emergency room.