By Daniel Wu
Stanford Health Care expanded its capacity to administer tests for COVID-19 by opening a drive-thru testing site at the Galvez parking lot on campus on Wednesday.
The site will be able to test about 150 pre-approved patients a day, according to Stanford Health Care spokesperson Julie Greicius. Stanford Health Care now offers drive-thru testing at seven locations in the Bay Area, totaling a visit capacity of approximately 630 patients per day.
While five of these locations — Palo Alto, Pleasanton, Los Gatos, Menlo Park and Emeryville — only test adults, the on-campus sites at Galvez lot and Hoover Pavilion also test pediatric patients.
Patients are tested in “only a few minutes” while remaining in their cars, and they receive their results within 24 hours, Greicius wrote in an email to The Daily.
“It’s important to note that Stanford’s drive-through testing services are by appointment only,” Greicius wrote. “Individuals do not need to be existing Stanford Health Care patients to receive the test. However, they do need to register as a new patient. Both existing and new patients will need to be screened in advance via a video or telephone visit with a clinician, who will then either refer them to schedule a test or encourage them to stay home based on the screening criteria.”
“Because Stanford’s COVID-19 testing lab serves many other non-Stanford-affiliated hospitals and clinics throughout the Bay Area, we encourage people to contact their current provider first to inquire about COVID-19 testing,” Greicius added.
Individuals can call 650-498-9000 to schedule a video consultation with a Stanford physician, who will evaluate patients for testing. The Galvez site is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.
Drive-thru testing accommodates more patients in “a safe and efficient manner,” according to a press release from Stanford Medicine.
“Exam rooms must be cleaned after every in-person visit from a patient who may have COVID-19, while drive-through testing avoids such potential contamination,” the release reads. “Studies from Stanford Medicine have found that a drive-through medical clinic model is an effective strategy for responding to a potential pandemic.”
The first drive-thru testing site opened by Stanford Health Care was at Hoover Pavilion on March 9. The Pleasanton location “had a soft launch on March 13,” and the Palo Alto, Los Gatos, Menlo Park and Emeryville locations opened from March 18-19, according to Greicius.
Access to coronavirus testing remains scarce in Santa Clara County, which has reported 574 cases of COVID-19 as of Friday. Due to shortages in testing kits, healthcare providers are currently restricting testing to symptomatic individuals who have either travelled internationally, been in contact with patients diagnosed with COVID-19, or are over 65 or immunocompromised, according to The Mercury News.
Stanford is aware of 29 University affiliates who have tested positive for coronavirus, the University announced on Friday.
A previous version of this article misspelled Julie Greicius’ name. The Daily regrets this error.
Contact Daniel Wu at dwu21 ‘at’ stanford.edu.