January 28, 2022
  • Redwood City — Along with vaccination, testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 remains vital to slow the spread of the disease and to help all of us safely work, attend school and enjoy the things we love.

    To highlight the importance of testing, the County of San Mateo today announces a new provider at the San Mateo County Event Center that will be able to accommodate up to 2,000 tests per day, beginning Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022.

    Carbon Health, a San Francisco-based national health care provider, will operate a walk-up mass testing site at the Event Center with PCR testing. Patients can register here in advance or walk up to the testing site. Tests are no-cost for the recipients (see below for details).

    “We have an established relationship with Carbon Health. They helped us open a mass vaccination site at San Francisco International Airport and at other clinics across the county and we are looking forward to continuing this partnership,” said County Manager Mike Callagy. “We know testing is critical to stem the spread of COVID-19 and taking care of one’s own health.”

    Nita Sommers, Carbon Health’s chief growth officer, said the site will accommodate between 1,500 and 2,000 tests per day with an anticipated results turnaround time of 48 hours.

    The testing site will operate Tuesdays through Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Event Center, 2701 S. Delaware St., CA 94403.

    “Carbon Health has deep expertise mobilizing healthcare teams to launch massive testing sites, partner with local municipal governments and increase capacity based on local needs in our fight against the pandemic,” said Sommers. “In partnership with San Mateo County, our former mass vaccination sites helped increase vaccination capacity throughout San Mateo County and we are glad to partner together again to help slow the increased spread of COVID-19 due to the Omicron variant.”

    According to a fact sheet from the California Department of Public Health, PCR (for polymerase chain reaction) “is the preferred test for diagnosing COVID infections for people who are sick (symptomatic) and in people who aren’t experiencing any COVID symptoms (asymptomatic)….”

    About no-cost testing:
    Any patient can come to the site and receive a free COVID test. Patients will not be asked for payment and will not receive a bill.

    If patients have insurance, they will be asked to enter their information, but they won't be responsible for any copays or bills from their insurance company for the test. If someone has an ID, it's useful to have on hand to verify that their results are tied to the proper account, but for those who do not have ID they will be able to verbally verify their identity.

    Testing Options in San Mateo County:
    Carbon Health’s testing site at the Event Center is one of a number of options available in San Mateo County.

    COVID-19 tests – both PCR and rapid antigen – are also available at private health providers, testing centers and pharmacies.

    Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order four free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests at https://www.covidtests.gov/. Orders will usually ship in 7 to 12 days.

    The Omicron variant has proven stubbornly prevalent even as vaccinations levels exceed nine out of 10 of those eligible in San Mateo County.

    The number of reported positive cases soared to a daily high record of 2,337 early this month, four times the daily high reported at what then seemed the height of the pandemic in January 2021.

    Over the past 30 days, lab results reported to County Health shows 49,650 positive results out of 312,449 tests for a positivity rate of 15.9 percent. These totals do not include most home tests as these results are not generally reported to health departments.

    Information on testing locations, when to get tested and isolation and quarantine guidance is available on County Health’s website.

    San Mateo County Health operates and supports numerous local vaccination clinics. Appointments are strongly encouraged but not required. Learn more and schedule a first or second dose or booster.