SALIDA, Calif. — As coronavirus testing began at the Salida Public Library parking lot at noon, Lauren Bruner was one of the first to qualify for testing for COVID-19.
Like the others in line, Bruners, a Modesto resident, got a swab in her nose that was "not pleasant, but it's not going to kill you."
Bruner is an ambulance dispatcher and works in close quarters with others as an essential worker. She took the free test as a precaution, compliments of Verily's Project Baseline.
"While we don't deal with the public directly, a lot of our spouses and significant others do," Bruner said.
A free drive-up coronavirus testing program is run through Google's parent company Alphabet. The testing initiative called Project Baseline, is an effort by Verily Life Sciences to take a load off of government labs and hospitals by allowing people with mild symptoms to be checked.
The project's website says it is for those deemed in the high risk category by national guidelines and the California Department of Public Health "who may be exhibiting symptoms and have other risk factors."
To qualify for the free test qualify, you must answer a few questions online. Results are sent to you by email.
While the testing is free, there is a limit on the amount of people tested daily. The 50 spots available for testing on Monday were full, and the 100 spots available for Tuesday were nearly full, too.
"It's been one of the top questions, inquiries for the Office of Emergency Services is when we're going to have public testing — free testing," said Stanislaus County Deputy Sheriff Raj Singh."So we're hopefully able to meet that demand."
Governor Gavin Newsom said he hopes the testing demand will increase much more. He says numbers rose from 2,000 tests a day in March to 10,000 by April 14.
"Want to get to 25,000 by the end of this month, and then significantly increase those numbers by multiples in May and June," Newsom said.
In San Joaquin County, the Office of Emergency Services says Verily testing numbers have been "fairly low" since its French Camp site opened on April 8. They've do less than 75 tests a day.
However, this past weekend, the demand doubled at 150 tests a day or more.
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