Verily, the life sciences arm of Google parent Alphabet, is for the first time expanding the scope of its coronavirus screening website outside of the San Francisco Bay Area. On Monday, the company announced two new testing sites in Sacramento County and Riverside County. The Riverside location, in Lake Elsinore City, is the first in Southern California.
The website previously only served San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, both south of San Francisco. On Monday, Verily also said it’s adding some self-serving scheduling tools to the website for people eligible for testing.
“We launched the program pilot with a limited number of appointments to allow us to quickly understand and adjust protocols and processes for safety and scalability,” Verily said in a blog post. “The program has involved medical centers and federal, state, and local public health officials to identify and to inform best practices for establishing local testing programs for broader population screening.”
The news comes as Verily tries to open up the operations of its website to more communities. Before the website launched last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he believed it could be a “national model” for coronavirus testing.
But prior to the website’s initial rollout, there was confusion about the size and scope of the project, thanks to conflicting announcements by Google and President Donald Trump. The president 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 lets people list their symptoms to find out if they can receive testing. On Thursday, Verily said the site had led to more than 130 tests, with more than 350 additional tests scheduled for the rest of the week. The company also said over 12,000 people had completed the screeners.