Alameda COVID-19 testing site with quick results abruptly closes day after opening

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- An issue over insurance forced the shutdown of a COVID-19 testing site in Alameda that had only been open for one day.

But not everyone got the word. People lined up early Thursday morning, even though officials had no intention of opening the site.

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Hayward COVID-19 testing site moving, going appointment-only

"I was here yesterday for like 12 hours and they told me come back tomorrow. And then I get back here this morning so I don't have to wait in a super long line, hella early, and they're like 'oh it's closed, we're not doing testing today,'" said Jada at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. She did not want to give her last name.

"Unfortunately late last night around 10 p.m. it became obvious they wouldn't be able to open the facility today for testing. We're trying to work through those issues right now. It is temporarily closed for today," Alameda City Manager Eric Levitt said Thursday morning.

Levitt said it is an issue over insurance between two test site partners. He says the city was not involved in the contract.

"It's a contractual issue between the property owner and CityHealth, who provides the testing," Levitt said. CityHealth is a private company.

Levitt says the property owner of Marina Village Research Park wanted proper insurance for the pop-up site.

VIDEO: Coronavirus Testing: What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?
EMBED More News Videos

There has been a lot of talk about testing for the coronavirus, but you may not entirely understand what the different tests are for.



"They just want proper protection in allowing their facility to be used," Levitt explained.

The city is helping with logistics like traffic control and acknowledged officials should have told people at the site Thursday that testing had been shut down.

"That was an error. I apologize severely for that. It should have been posted at the entrance. It wasn't. I did find that out early this morning," Levitt said Thursday.

The site opened Wednesday and was the first one to open in Alameda. CityHealth promises results in 15 minutes and says they are 97% accurate.

WATCH LIST: 33 California counties where COVID-19 is getting worse
App users: For a better experience, click here to view the full map in a new window

The CDC says the antigen test offered by CityHealth isn't as accurate as a PCR test and is more likely to produce false negatives. But that didn't deter people from wanting one Wednesday when 380 people made an appointment for a test and another 400 walk-ins showed up.

Erica Casillas got in line at 4 a.m. Thursday. "I'm sure some of us are positive and here we are exposing ourselves some more. And then I did see some kids as well sleeping in the car. So yeah everybody is going out of their way and then they are seeing tests not available," she said as she walked out of the site at 9 a.m.

She says workers from CityHealth took people's names Thursday and told them they will have first priority when they open back up. Officials have not said when that will be.

"They don't know if they are going to be available tomorrow but hopefully that will help get us first in line," Casillas said, who needs the test for work.

"We have worked very hard to get testing available and we finally thought we were successful. And we were for a day and I think we will be long term. It's just we have this logistics issue. We apologize to those who were inconvenienced," Levitt said.

CityHealth did not respond to our request for comment.

App users: For a better experience, click here to view the story in a new window

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic hereRELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.