Coronavirus: Rush of people as new drive-thru COVID-19 testing site opens at Alameda County Fairgrounds

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KGO) -- A line of cars a quarter-mile long waited outside the Alameda County Fairgrounds Monday morning for the new COVID-19 test site, which opened at 9 a.m.

"I didn't expect the line to be out to Valley Road before we started, but we anticipated and planned for that. This is the first day, we are going to run through our process and figure out what works best," said Capt. Kurt Schlehuber of the Pleasanton Police Department.

David Nelson of Livermore and his son, Adam, expected a crowd. They were the first in line.

"We thought it was going to back up really quickly so we got here at 4 this morning and sat here for two hours before anyone else got here," David said.

Officials ask that people meet one of these requirements to get a test:

  • Fever above 100 degrees

  • Shortness of breath

  • Recent exposure to confirmed or suspected coronavirus patient

  • Other chronic diseases

  • Over the age of 65

  • Currently or recently pregnant

  • Homeless

"I am going because I am over 65 and he (Adam) was exposed to a friend recently," David said.

"This is intended for the residents of Livermore, Dublin, and Pleasanton. Of course, if someone came from another municipality, we would not turn them away," said Rick Shumway, the CEO of Stanford Health Care-Valley Care, which is putting on the clinic in partnership with those three East Bay cities.

They have about 750 tests for each week and hope to be open for about four weeks. Reporters asked if that is enough.

"I think it's a start. As you have heard from the governor, the primary focus for all parts of the state is to obtain more testing capabilities. So this is a great opportunity for us to start in our community, to begin that work. That doesn't mean we have stopped turning over rocks and continue to look for testing sourcing so we can do more," Shumway said.

Those in line say they are grateful the tests are here.

"I think it is fantastic. I think it should happen more and more all over the US so we can quantify what is going on and be a little safer," David Nelson said.

The crowd appeared to be a morning rush. The size of the line shrunk significantly once the center opened. By 10:30, there were only eight cars waiting to get in, the overflow lot was empty. The center will be open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Those wanting tests should report to Gate 12 at the fairgrounds in Pleasanton without an appointment needed.

Stanford Health Care - ValleyCare (SHC - VC) in coordination with the cities of Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin is putting this on. Organizers say they have 150 tests per day, or 750 for the week. They say the results will be available within 3 days.

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