Oral-fluid COVID-19 self-test offered in Berkeley's San Pablo Park

Eric Thomas Image
ByEric Thomas KGO logo
Thursday, July 30, 2020
COVID-19 self-test offered in Berkeley
Berkeley is offering a less invasive COVID-19 test at San Pablo Park where people can swab their own mouth and place it in a receptacle as part of a pilot program.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- You can get tested for COVID-19 with mouth swabs at a walk-up site in Berkeley.

"In an effort to increase the speed and availability of COVID-19 testing, Berkeley Public Health is piloting a new test kiosk where people can swab their own mouth and place it in a receptacle," the city posted on its website.

The test will be done under supervision at San Pablo Park for two days, Wednesday July 29 and Thursday July 30.

RELATED: 'Could be a game changer': Researchers at UCSF, Stanford developing new COVID-19 diagnostic tests

The event comes one month after UC Berkeley researchers announced on June 30 that they had started trials of a saliva test, allowing people to spit into a tube, which is far less invasive than the nasal swab.

The San Pablo Park pilot tests are free to people without insurance.

"Our goal is to use what is within our means to expand the availability of testing," said City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley. "This pilot testing program gives us a tool to see how we might expand access to more parts of our community."

RELATED: Coronavirus testing center list: Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the San Francisco Bay Area?

Berkeley is working with Curative Inc., which has been approved by the state to provide saliva-based tests, according to the city. The tests have also been used widely in the city of Los Angeles.

The pilot program will help Berkeley increase testing for uninsured and vulnerable populations, especially Black and Latino, who are currently infected at more than 4.5 times the rate of white people nationally, according to city officials.

People can expect to get results in 24 to 48 hours and appointments are available online.

WATCH: ABC7's Eric Thomas takes oral-fluid COVID-19 test