It’s been less than a week since Verily, the life sciences arm of Google parent Alphabet, launched its coronavirus screening website. As of Thursday evening, the online tool has led to more than 130 tests, Verily said. There are more than 350 additional tests scheduled for this week.
The website, which went live late Sunday, is hosted through Verily’s Project Baseline, an initiative to advance clinical research. The site lets people in the San Francisco Bay Area take online screener surveys to see if they should go to testing sites in Santa Clara county or San Mateo county for examinations.
“The early days of the pilot have been focused on an end-to-end protocol and playbook that can scale,” Verily said in a blog post. “A critical part of this process is adjusting the screening and scheduling of individuals to prioritize those at highest risk.”
Before the website launched, the project was the subject of major confusion last week after Google and President Donald Trump made separate, conflicting announcements. Trump had described a website that people all across the country could use to get information about coronavirus testing. After the announcement, which reportedly caught Google off-guard, the company said Verily was working on a tool, in its early stages, focused on just the Bay Area.
The website offers a screening questionnaire that asks people to list their symptoms. On Thursday, Verily said over 12,000 people had completed the screeners. The point of the tool is to lighten the load on hospitals as they deal with the virus.
Verily said it eventually wants to scale the program.
“Our team is working in partnership with local, state, and federal public health officials to rapidly establish a robust public health delivery framework that could extend to other sites,” the company said.
Before the website launched on Sunday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he believed it could be a “national model” for coronavirus testing.
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