'They have to get there': Pilot on mission to fly COVID-19 testing kits from Hayward to Los Angeles

Julian Glover Image
Friday, March 20, 2020
Meet the pilot flying COVID-19 testing kits from Hayward to Los Angeles
Pilot Kevin Perry is on a mission to get COVID-19 testing kits from Hayward to Los Angeles.It's an urgent mission with little time to spare, he said.

HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- As more people in the Bay Area are tested for novel coronavirus ABC7's Julian Glover is meeting the man on a mission to get those test kits to labs to be analyzed.

The small Cessna plane took off from Hayward Executive Airport in the middle of the night headed down to Southern California, packed full of coronavirus test kits.

"They have to get there. There's just no question about it," said pilot Kevin Perry.

The last couple of night he's said his plane has been packed to capacity carrying coronavirus test kits from Quest Diagnostics.

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The swabs are from anxious patients in the Bay Area and other parts of Northern California, waiting to learn if they've tested positive for the virus.

It's an urgent mission with little time to spare.

"All of these tests kits are under a time constraint," said Perry, "If they sit here too long they could go back and then they would have to be retested. From engine to start I'm out of here in 5 minutes."

Every night just before midnight, 50 green bags stuffed with kits are packed into his plane headed to labs in Los Angeles to be analyzed.

"I fly them down to labs that are waiting for all of these kits at 2 a.m.," said Perry. "It's gotta be tested for somebody down the road that needs treatment."

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Perry stressed the efficiency of flying the kits down to Southern California instead of driving them. He said the flight path only takes him 90 minutes compared to a six hour drive -- and that's with little traffic.

"It's the finale of the testing. That's what I accomplish -- is getting the tests to labs so they could get their results in a timely fashion," Perry said.