Having trouble finding a COVID test? This Bay Area company's new service could solve your problem

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ByDavid Louie KGO logo
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Bay Area company offering at-home COVID test as demand soars
Bay Area's Sprinter Health is offering at-home COVID tests as demand soars amid omicron surge across the U.S.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- There is a solution for people who can't find rapid test kits or who can't deal with long lines at drive-by test sites. A technician can administer a rapid antigen test by appointment at home.

It's a sight seldom seen outside of a hospital -- a medical technician in protective garments making a house call. Dorievel Abante works for Sprinter Health, and she's arriving to do an in-home COVID test.

RELATED: Walgreens, CVS working to keep at-home rapid COVID tests on the shelves amid surge in demand

Marketing executive Marty Ward has used the service three times for routine blood tests. This time, he wants to make sure of his status before attending a friend's birthday party.

"You can just set up any time that's convenient for you," he said. "They show up. It saves me drive time. It saves me running around trying to find a test. It's just really convenient."

Sprinter Health's mobile service is taking the frustration out of finding home test kits out of stock or waiting in long queues at drive-by testing sites.

"Our goal is to be in and out as quickly as possible without making you feel rushed," said Sprinter Health CEO Max Cohen. "So we do the test. It takes 15 minutes. You get a confirmation that you can use to get onto your flight or to go back to work."

VIDEO: At-home COVID testing may skew state's data as many cases go unreported, experts say

With the upcoming holiday, many people are relying on at-home COVID-19 tests but whose tracking the number of positive cases from those tests.

The test costs $99. All of Sprinter Health's staff are either phlebotomists or nurses, so they can also do blood draws ordered by doctors. That also makes a difference in who will accept COVID test results.

"Doing an at-home rapid antigen test, if you just do it yourself, you can't submit that to an airline, for instance, or to immigration authorities," said Cohen. "It does need to be either supervised or professionally administered."

Offering COVID testing is acquainting more people to a trend toward at-home health care services to patients who are busy or who have mobility issues.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom lays out new actions to slow spread of COVID in Calif.

"We have elderly. We have kids. We have active patients like Mr. Ward who wants to take their blood test in the mornings before they go to work," said phlebotomist Dorievel Abante.

She adds that patients are more relaxed at home. The rapid antigen test results indeed were ready in 15 minutes. Marty Ward tested negative.

"It's really reassuring to hear that I'm COVID-negative," he said.

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