Over the past three months, we have expanded our testing program for COVID-19 through state, federal and private partners to more than 130 cities and towns nationwide. As the test kits have become more available we have been able to offer testing broadly beyond high-risk individuals, in coordination with county public health officers.
Verily’s Baseline COVID-19 Testing Program provides a secure connected online solution to support individuals from screening to in-person testing at community-based sites. The test results are then provided, with the support of a licensed clinician.
We are now administering tests at nearly 40 California sites through our partnership with state and local public health officials. That’s a big jump from the initial two sites we operated in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Since our launch on March 15, more than 273,500 people in California have completed the public health screener through the online tool.
At the same time, Verily is working with the California Coronavirus Testing Task Force to expand community-based testing in underserved California communities. We are now able to reach more California residents in rural areas with mobile testing sites, currently operating in a dozen rural California counties in collaboration with Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster relief organization. Widespread testing is critical to be able to identify and isolate those with the virus, particularly as communities begin to reopen. All testing in California is provided at no cost to participants.
In partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Rite Aid is operating 92 Baseline-supported testing sites across 12 states under guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All locations use self-swab nasal tests overseen by Rite Aid pharmacists. The services are free and open to anyone.
We are currently in the process of transitioning Verily-supported California sites to the nasal self-swab tests that are offered by our partner Rite-Aid at other sites nationwide, referred to as Mid-Turbinate (MT) swabs. Data suggests that self-administered tests are demonstrating similar accuracy to those administered by a healthcare provider, and they reduce both the risk of infecting staff and the need for precious personal protective equipment (PPE). The CDC has updated its guidelines to include self-administered nasal COVID-19 tests.
Testing is crucial for people, employers, and public health officials as cities and towns begin to reopen workplaces, stores, hair salons, and restaurants. We look forward to continuing to support the many organizations and officials that are pressing forward to ensure testing is widely available.