UC Berkeley Coronavirus Testing Lab Expanding Its Reach

Pop-up lab will branch out to serve public utility workers, nursing home residents and the homeless

Public utility workers
UC Berkeley

A UC Berkeley coronavirus testing lab is expanding its reach to include utility workers, nursing home residents, first responders and the homeless, the university announced Wednesday.

The pop-up lab, staffed with volunteers from the Innovative Genomics Institute, initially opened up April 6 for testing symptomatic students at the East Bay campus but quickly increased its testing capacity, allowing it to fulfill requests from communities outside UC Berkeley, the university said.

The lab has since tested firefighters and nursing home residents who may have been exposed to the virus. It also has screened asymptomatic university police officers and health center workers, Berkeley firefighters and staff at East Bay health clinics, UC Berkeley said.

Now the lab is expanding even further with testing for the homeless in the East Bay and workers with publicly owned utilities across the state.

Next week, the lab will begin to check asymptomatic employees from a handful of publicly owned utilities in areas of California with limited testing resources, the university said.

The lab is scaling up its tests from about 180 samples a day to about 1,000 a day, the university said.

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