REDWOOD CITY (KPIX) — Widespread coronavirus testing is one of the keys to reopening the country but there is still no organized effort to do that so entrepreneurs are stepping in to meet that need.
Testing has been erratic at best with people often having to wait in long lines. That’s the biggest problem according to Eren Bali, founder of Carbon Health, a private heath clinic operator in California and Nevada.
“There’s absolutely no downside to testing,” he said. “But there is downside to hundreds of people getting into a line in front of a clinic to get tested.”
So the company has outfitted a former mobile dental trailer to focus on COVID-19 testing. On Sunday, it was set up in a parking lot in Redwood City.
Testing is by appointment only to eliminate crowding and the nasal swab test takes only about a minute to complete.
Some who came to be tested felt an obligation to do so.
“If I just walk around thinking that I’m healthy and if I am not, I’m just contaminating and putting everything back as it was before,” said Liliana Acosta of Redwood City.
“The first thing is responsibility,” said San Mateo resident Rene Cardenas. “I don’t want to infect you or nobody else if I don’t know I’m sick.”
“Positive or negative — at least you know,” said Kevin McGovern.
McGovern has a job delivering cannabis and said the fear of infection has kept him from seeing his young daughter for four weeks. Ig means a lot to him that the company uses a rapid test system with results available by the end of the day.
“The whole time you’re going through — whether you have it or not,” said McGovern. “So being able to get the results in the time they can do it, I think gives you a little … comfort.”
The company says the test is covered by most insurance plans and, if not, the fee is $65.
That’s uncertain because, even though the government has promised that testing will be free, it has not created a system to reimburse those doing it.
“We are taking a lot of financial risks by doing this because we’re not collecting co-pays, we’re not collecting credit cards,” Bali said. “We are just hoping we will eventually get paid for this”
The Bali says if the company ever does start getting paid, it hopes to create 10 mobile-testing units to use around the state. He would also like to do antibody testing to find those who may have had the virus already and who have some immunity to it.
People who want to schedule an appointment for the mobile testing clinic should visit CarbonHealth.com