Free COVID-19 testing for some in Sacramento is now taking place at Cal Expo.

Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye announced that online screening and drive-through testing starts Wednesday, March 25. Both are made possible Dr. Kasirye said, by a partnership between the California Department of Public Health (CDPH); Verily, a sister company of Google focused on life sciences and health care; the California Office of Emergency Services, the governor’s office; and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The effort seeks to expand access to screening and testing in areas of “high volumes of known cases.”

According to the CDPH, 2,102 people (as of presstime) throughout the state have tested positive for the coronavirus. That number includes health care workers tasked with aiding the sick, including several at UC Davis Medical Center. Forty people in California have died from COVID-19, including a substitute teacher who worked within the Sacramento City Unified School District.

Verily’s Project Baseline is offering testing in Sacramento for Sacramento County, San Jose for Santa Clara, San Mateo for San Mateo County, and Lake Elsinore for Riverside County. Those interested in being tested must do an online assessment first, that will be looked at by health officials, who will then determine if testing is warranted. Individuals without an appointment, who simply show up to a testing site will be turned away and referred to the website to start the eligibility process. High priority is being given to seniors, those with existing health issues and those employed in health care.

The testing is for those who do not need immediate medical attention. According to the website, the program “is not intended for people experiencing severe symptoms such as severe cough, severe shortness of breath, severe fever, or other concerning symptoms who may need more immediate medical care. Please visit the CDC website for information on what to do if you are sick.”

Individuals must be at least 18 years old, located within range of a testing site and willing to sign a COVID-19 Public Health Authorization Form and lab consent.

The UC Davis Medical Center has also announced that rapid testing is now available to its patients. Tests are now available on a limited basis through patients’ doctors and are run on a machine in-house, so people don’t have to wait for results from an outside lab.

By Genoa Barrows | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer

Photo and Video by Russell Stiger Jr.