Napa’s been the scene of a variety of retail and restaurant of pop-ups. On Wednesday and Thursday, a completely different kind of temporary “business” popped up in the city: mobile COVID-19 testing.
Called the Carbon Health Mobile COVID-19 Testing Clinic, it offers testing to everyone who has symptoms of the virus or believes they are at-risk of exposure and would like to be tested, as well as essential workers who are at-risk.
On Wednesday, the mobile testing bus, provided by Studio Dental, was parked in the north parking lot across the street from Home Depot in the South Napa Marketplace. That parking lot is a common waiting spot for day laborers.
Next to the bus, under a canopy, staffers checked in patients who had made appointments in advance, online.
Each patient was given a COVID-19 booklet called “symptoms + treatment.” After that, standing on blue “X” marks taped to the ground – spaced more than 6 feet apart – each waited just a few minutes before being called into the bus for the test.
Workers were seen wearing the now-familiar personal protective equipment – one was completely covered with a white jumpsuit, including face shield, gloves, booties and head covering.
People arriving to take the test on Wednesday also wore masks, including one Napa man who waited in a short line to check in for his appointment.
The man said he didn’t want to tell a reporter his name because “I’ve got a local business and I don’t want anyone thinking I’m sick.”
This man said he didn’t have any COVID-19 symptoms but wanted to get tested to know for sure if he did or did not have the virus.
The more people who get tested, the sooner the shelter-at-home order can be lifted, he said.
“We can’t sit around” waiting to be called to get tested, he said. This Napan wanted to be proactive and schedule his own test, one with same-day results. During such a global pandemic, “You gotta do what you gotta do,” the man said.
Napa County Public Health Officer Karen Relucio said she would like to see 213 people tested daily in the county to get a good idea of the disease’s prevalence and help plan for loosening shelter-at-home restrictions.
On Wednesday, the county reported that 1,305 individuals had been tested since the arrival of the coronavirus in March, including 16 more on Tuesday at county and local hospital sites.
All Carbon Health tests are reported to the county the same day, and results to the patients on the same day, said the company.
Ka’Sha Whitelow of American Canyon came to the mobile testing site with a small group of family members.
“I think it’s a good thing” to offer such testing, said Whitelow.
She doesn’t have any virus symptoms, but because she lives with her elderly grandmother, who was also getting tested, she wanted to get tested “just to make sure.”
After helping her mother out of the trailer, Lanise Spann of American Canyon, said the test itself went quick.
“They were very patient” with helping her mother during the test procedure and stepping in and out of the trailer via metal steps.
“It was a little uncomfortable,” Spann said of the actual test, where a swab is inserted into the nose. “But I’m really glad to get it.”
“It stung a little bit,” said Whitelow after finishing her test. “But the pain isn’t too bad. It’s tolerable.”
Another test taker who left the trailer after Whitelow said the same thing.
“It wasn’t bad,” said the man, as he wrinkled his nose and scrunched his face, as if to alleviate some discomfort.
The test is free. That’s because according to Carbon Health, most insurance plans cover the test. The Family First Coronavirus Response Act will apply in other cases.
The mobile clinic can do more than 100 tests a day, said the company. In addition to two days in Napa, the traveling unit is making several stops across the Bay Area.
A separate operation — Napa County Public Health COVID-19 testing – is open to first responders and healthcare workers who live or work in Napa County and may have been exposed (with or without symptoms) and community members with symptoms. That takes place at the Expo at 575 3rd St.
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