Calif. city FD opens unrestricted COVID-19 testing site

The testing site at the city fire station is open to anyone and can provide same-day or next-day results

Associated Press

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Medical company Avellino announced that it is partnering with the City of Hayward Fire Department and Chief Garrett Contreras to make its SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Test (AvellinoCoV2) available beginning immediately. Testing will be performed at the Hayward Fire Station 7, which is located at 28270 Huntwood Avenue in Hayward, Calif. Testing times will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days per week starting on Monday, March 23, 2020.

Hayward is believed to be among the first cities in the nation to make this type of testing and suppression model available to protect its citizens. Sick people, first responders, healthcare workers and those who exhibit flu-like symptoms with suspected COVID-19 exposures are particularly encouraged to be tested for infection. The testing center will be staffed by Hayward Fire Department firefighter-paramedics and supported by ambulance company EMTs.

An unrestricted COVID-19 testing site has been set up at Hayward Fire Station 7 and can provide same-day or next-day test results.
An unrestricted COVID-19 testing site has been set up at Hayward Fire Station 7 and can provide same-day or next-day test results. (Photo/Hayward FD)

Testing is free to the public and open to anyone regardless of where they live or immigration status. People who present themselves for testing will first go through a two-step screening process for COVID-19 disease before being administered a test, which involves swabbing of the nasal cavities and back of the throat. No referral from a medical doctor is required to be screened. Results can be available in as little as six hours or the next day in most cases. Testing is available for up to 350 people per day now. Hayward Fire Department and Avellino are working with other Bay Area communities to help open additional testing sites in the region.

Hayward Fire Chief Garrett Contreras said, “Our screening process is very stringent. People with flu-like symptoms should be tested to rule out COVID-19 (the coronavirus). Other people who are at risk, including first responders, should also get tested as supplies increase. One of the advantages of the AvellinoCoV2 genetic test is its speed. Many of the people tested will get results the same day or next day.”

The AvellinoCoV2 test is an RNA-based genetic test that helps clinicians diagnose coronavirus, the disease caused by a SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. AvellinoCoV2 works by identifying and isolating two specific N-Genes, genetic markers that are part of the virus's genetic sequence previously identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. These two N-Genes are known to be stable and accurate indicators of the virus, even if the virus were to mutate into more strains.

Avellino Group Chairman Gene Lee said, “We have learned from the experience of our labs in South Korea and China. Our team understands the challenges that most IVD and DNA-based tests have with speed and accuracy as the virus mutates and spreads. That’s why making this RNA-based approach available in communities is key to accurately diagnosing people quickly.”

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