County of San Mateo Announces Drive-Through Testing Starting Tuesday, October 20, at the San Mateo County Event Center
October 16, 2020
  • county of san mateo joint information center

    REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – The County of San Mateo today announced no-cost testing for COVID-19 is available for children age 5 and older starting Tuesday, October 20 — a new option that expands the County’s testing capacity.

    Testing is open by appointment to all families that live in San Mateo County with children ages 5 and older. Appointments for the drive-through testing at the San Mateo County Event Center are available weekdays from 1 to 8 p.m. Register now.

    “We are thrilled to offer this opportunity to families that we know are worried about COVID-19,” said County Manager Mike Callagy. “We encourage all parents and guardians to make an appointment for their children and also to get tested themselves. Testing is so important because people who test positive can receive care earlier and lessen the chances of spreading the virus to others.”

    The County is offering a simple-to-use oral mouth swab test that is self-administered for children and families in partnership with Curative Inc., a rapid diagnostics firm based in Southern California. Curative has the capacity to test over 500 individuals each day at the Event Center with results available typically within 48 hours.

    With the addition of testing by Curative, the County has the capacity to test up to 7,500 individuals each week. There is no cost to participants.

    Widespread testing plays a key role in the state’s criteria for loosening or tightening restrictions on certain activities and the economy. The County’s stated goals are to exceed the state median for testing, ensure equitable access to testing and invest in strategic community testing.

    Working with the County, Curative has hired and trained local residents to staff the Event Center testing site, providing much-needed jobs at a time when the economy is suffering from the pandemic.

    Below are answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the testing provided by Curative followed by additional COVID-19 testing options.

    To learn more on how the Curative COVID-19 oral fluid tests are conducted, click here.

    Para obtener más información sobre cómo se realizan las pruebas curativas de fluidos orales COVID-19, haga clic aquí.


    Q: Do children or family members need to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 or have concerns about a possible exposure to the virus?

    A: No. All San Mateo County residents with children ages 5 and older are eligible for no-cost testing.

    Q: What kind of test does Curative offer?

    A: Curative kits test for the presence of COVID-19 RNA in an oral-fluid sample.

    Q: Can patients eat or drink before taking the test?

    A: Patients cannot eat, drink, chew gum, smoke or vape in the 20 minutes leading up to their test. If they have, please ask them to wait 20 minutes before collecting a sample.

    Q: Is this test authorized by the Food and Drug Administration?

    A: Yes, Curative’s test is authorized under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

    Q: What is the accuracy of the test?

    A: The test is approximately 90 percent accurate.

    Q: What is inside a test kit?

    A: Each EUA-approved collection kit includes a barcoded biohazard bag with an oral fluid swab, a test tube (with stabilizing liquid), an absorbent cotton round, and paper instructions.

    Q: What are the test procedures?

    A: A trained observer watches to make sure the patient performs a thorough test. They should be ready to intervene if any of the following steps are missed or performed inadequately:

    ● Cough deeply 3-5 times
    ● Swab for 20 seconds: ○ Inside of each cheek ○ Upper and lower gums ○ Underneath and top of tongue ○ Roof of mouth
    ● The swab has not been touched, dropped, or contaminated in any way
    ● The cap on the tube is secure and the swab tip is facing downward in the liquid
    ● The return bag is securely sealed so the tube doesn’t fall out

    Q: Can other people be in the vehicle during the test?

    A: Yes, wearing a face covering.

    Q: Are on-site appointments available?

    A: Yes, but expect the process to take longer because individuals will need to register.  Please have your photo ID and insurance card ready.

    Q: If a minor tests positive, how is the family notified? 

    A: The parent or guardian will be notified by text or email by Curative and will also be contacted by San Mateo County Health staff.

    Q: If a minor tests negative, how is the family notified?

    A: The parent or guardian will be notified by text message or email.

    Testing Options in San Mateo County

    In addition to the new testing option for families, the County offers testing for adults ages 18 and older regardless of symptoms or suspected exposure to someone with COVID-19.

    Provided by Project Baseline, testing is offered at a rotating series of neighborhood locations and Tuesdays through Saturdays at the San Mateo County Event Center. Signs and testing staff at the Event Center will direct drivers to the appropriate location for their appointment. Learn more and make an appointment.

    Residents interested in COVID-19 testing may also contact their health care provider. Another local option is Stanford Health Care, which offers testing for both Stanford patients and the public.

    The state of California also offers a searchable map of testing sites.