Coronavirus California: Many sick, frustrated with COVID-19 testing process in Bay Area

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Across the Bay Area, there's growing frustration about who, when and how people can get tested for coronavirus.

Sarah Sanders is a librarian at an elementary school in Marin County who started getting symptoms consistent with coronavirus on Friday. She immediately called her doctor -- even noting she has a daughter with a compromised immune system -- but was told she couldn't get a test. She tried again the next day and again the day after that.

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"I called them, same thing, same drill, doesn't matter if you worked with kids, doesn't matter that your kids immune-compromised," Sanders said. "We're only allowed to test people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive or if you've traveled abroad."

Finally, on Monday she got approved for testing. She's currently waiting for her results.

"I'm really lucky. I mean, at the time I didn't feel lucky, but with the stories I'm hearing," she said. "I'm very frustrated by the process, and as are the doctors."

Also in Marin County is a woman in her early 40's, who has asked not to be identified, who said she's had a similar experience since showing symptoms. Because she isn't considered high risk and her symptoms are mild, she has had a hard time getting a test.

"If I'm one more case in Marin County, I want the world to know there's one more case in Marin County," she said. "It's also extremely frustrating to hear how many powerful and famous people are getting tested with or without any symptoms, where a normal person who has almost every single symptom...cannot get tested at all."

In San Mateo, there's Wendy Voorsanger -- a writer who says that when her son began showing mild symptoms she turned to the new Google/Verily screening site set up in partnership with the state and the federal government. She said she didn't want to tax the local medical system, so she though the Verily site -- which is currently piloting in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties -- would be a good alternative. Still, no luck.

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"The answers basically at the end of it were go to the CDC website. That was essentially at the end of every thread," Voorsanger said. "So, it's like collecting my medical data and then doing nothing for me."

Voorsanger voiced her frustartions in a post on Medium.

Governor Newsom acknowledged frustrations with testing during a press conference on Tuesday, however, he said more than 350 people have been tested using the Verily site.

In a statement, Verily told ABC7 News that the partnership is a pilot program geared currently toward high-risk populations and that they hope to scale over time.

"As we scale testing at these facilities and begin opening new ones, we will be adjusting the triage algorithm to prioritize a broader set of high-risk individuals," a spokesperson said. "The benefit of testing higher risk populations is to identify community spread and to determine where we will need critical medical infrastructures like hospital beds and ventilators."

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