Coronavirus: Kaiser Permanente seeks to offer drive-up testing in SoCal

As more coronavirus test kits are produced, Kaiser Permanente aims to open drive-up testing locations in Southern California.

The pilot program is already underway in Northern California, where some Kaiser patients who have double medical clearance from a primary care doctor and an infectious disease specialist are getting tested for coronavirus at the French campus in San Francisco.

The secure locations enable workers to safely test patients while protecting staff and minimizing exposure in the hospitals.

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Patients pull up and get swabbed in their vehicles by medical personnel wearing protective gear who are working out of a tent in the parking lot.

However, not everyone is permitted to use the drive-thru.

"I have a fever and a cough for over 8 days now," said a Kaiser patient who does not want to be identified.

She added that Kaiser has refused to test her, and she went to the doctor four times last week.

"I requested it again today and the answer was no, we can not test you, we do not have enough tests," she said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week that officials are working on local solutions to the coronavirus testing issue.

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"We need to focus in on these tests," said Newsom, who added he was surprised the issues with testing kits haven't been a bigger part of the national conversation.

Newsom said California has 8,227 testing kits, but the kits are incomplete, which is slowing down processing at 18 state labs.

"It's very much in line, these test, with you're going to the store and purchasing a printer but forgetting to purchase the ink," the governor said.

Newsom said Stanford, UCLA and UCSD are already conducting tests, and he hopes UC Davis and UC Irvine will start testing this week.

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