Verily Life Sciences, Google’s sister company, is helping the government and the state of California to support two new COVID-19 California drive-through testing sites. The northern California site is in Sacramento County. The other testing site in southern California is in Lake Elsinore City in Riverside County.
Combined, the sites are expected to serve thousands more in four California counties, including in the Silicon Valley area, which Verily’s parent Alphabet calls home.
During the first week of operation for Project Baseline, Verily helped to scale to 20 times the capacity, testing more than 1,200 individuals at sites in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
The goal is to automate the workflow, rather than relying on manual processes, similar to the way Google automates ad bidding and serving. Placing orders for lab testing is a manual process, but a direct integration between the drive-through facility and Project Baseline’s software and test ordering systems will help to get people tested more quickly.
Verily initially launched a pilot with a limited number of appointments to better understand protocols and processes. Now it has dedicated an analytics team to monitor the time required to gather samples and other important testing site metrics to optimize scheduling. These insights will be included in a report released by the company on its approach to support public health authorities.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is directing the screening and testing process. It's also being updated in accordance with public health guidance as the situation develops.
Verily managed to identify several important processes. Each testing site consists of a command center for quick decision-making, and “hot zones,” that are only accessible to a limited number of testing personnel.
The layout of these drive-through testing sites are designed to align with social distancing procedures, limiting areas where multiple individuals can congregate.
As part of the California Community-Based Testing Program, we are privileged to work alongside numerous organizations who are contributing to increasing testing capacity in the state. Thermo Fisher Scientific and Becton Dickinson are rapidly producing testing kits. PWNHealth is the physicians’ network that approves testing for individuals, and the nurses and healthcare providers from Hawthorne Effect and Elligo are onsite at the front lines performing tests. Tests are then processed by Quest Diagnostics.