While the origins of its coronavirus testing program were muddled by President Trump’s misleading announcements attributing its efforts to Google and inflating its scale, Alphabet’s Verily health sciences subsidiary has established and grown its community-based California testing initiative, deploying drive-up testing sites and ramping the number of tests completed from just over 1,200 last Wednesday to more than 3,700 as of Saturday.
The Verily team detailed its progress in a new blog post, and CNBC reported last week that it has brought on 1,000 new volunteers from Google and other Alphabet companies to help increase its testing efforts and bring testing sites to new areas. In total, there are four testing sites in operation across California, which took two weeks to set up.
That’s a lot accomplished in not a lot of time, and Verily now wants to pass on the benefits of its experience and lessons learned. It put together guidelines and resources for anyone else looking to set up a community-based testing initiative (assuming they have access to qualified laboratories, testing supplies and healthcare professionals) and provided them for anyone to download.
The guide includes various documents, including workflows for everyone involved in the drive-through testing process, as well as the type of personal protective equipment needed, and how to organize and deploy on-site staff. There’s even full testing signage kits ready for download and printing.
These guide materials were created by Verily’s Project Baseline team, working in partnership with California’s Department of Public Health and other state governing and regulatory bodies, and they represent input from Stanford Medicine as well. Overall, the guide is intended as a way to help Verily spread the benefit of its experience, at a pace that it just can’t match via its own efforts to scale.
The company is definitely still looking to scale its own testing sites, however, and to launch new ones. This guide could help others make the most of its experience as it does so, though they’ll require a lot of access to specialized resources to replicate, even with the benefit of information shared by a team with first-hand knowledge of the challenges that mobile COVID-19 testing entails.