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Free, drive- up testing for virus is available
free testing

A free, drive-up testing center for San Joaquin County residents concerned about possibly being infected with COVID-19 is scheduled to launch today.

The appointment-only service, which is part of the State of California’s community-based COVID-19 testing program that was developed with support from Project Baseline, will be hosted in the north parking lot of the San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp off of the Matthews Road or French Camp Road exits off of I-5.

The announcement of the testing program Tuesday came after the death toll from the coronavirus in San Joaquin Council climbed to 13 with two additional deaths in the 24 hours ending at 5 p.m. Tuesday. There are now 223 confirmed COVID-19 cases couyntywide.

The site adds to established drive-thru testing locations being offered through the program in places like San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sacramento, and Riverside Counties – which, so far, have tested more than 6,000 California residents for the virus.

Those with severe symptoms such as a high fever, a severe cough, and shortness of breath are being asked not to participate in the drive-thru testing – current medical recommendations for those patients are to contact their primary care physician for additional information about how to be tested and what the next steps for those patients should be.

Children are also not being accepted as a part of the program – all participants need to be 18 years of age or older.

Verily Life Sciences, which is the life science research organization under the umbrella of Alphabet Inc. – the parent company of Google – is the organization that oversees Project Baseline.

“With coronavirus testing being in limited supply, I am grateful that when I reached out to Governor Newsom and Alphabet Company, Verily, they made it a priority that Stockton and the Greater San Joaquin County have access to drive-through services,” Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs said in a statement. “Our work with Verily, which is providing testing throughout California, is another important partnership to bring resources and tools to Stockton and to help bend the curve and reduce the spread of the coronavirus.”

San Joaquin County has 223 cases of coronavirus, and 13 recorded deaths – numbers that according to Public Health Officer Maggie Park have been lowered thanks to social distancing efforts and the public’s willingness to stay at home and follow the Governor’s recommendations and orders.

According to the report released last week, Lathrop had the highest concentration of cases per capita in the entire county, and the availability of drive-thru testing for all qualified residents is something that Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal says is a step in the right direction.

“I want to thank the County officials who are working with Verily to start this testing,” Dhaliwal said. “It will help us to minimize the infections because we will know when people are infected so they can be quarantined and monitored by their healthcare providers.

“I believe this is a step in the right direction to stop the spread of this virus.”

But not everybody who desires to be tested will be able to drive up to the site near the San Joaquin General Hospital and be tested. For one, potential patients need to be 18 years of age or older, be in a secured, closed vehicle, and need to have an appointment – which only comes after applying through the organization’s website and securing clearance and a time to show up to receive the test.

Users who are interested can to begin the screening process – answering questions about their symptoms that will be revealed by healthcare professionals that will make a determination about whether testing is warranted. Priority is being given to high-risk individuals, and those with severe symptoms that may warrant more intensive medical intervention are being asked to contact their doctors.

The program will not impact existing COVID-19 testing being conducted for San Joaquin County outpatient clinics, the uninsured, and employees.

For additional information, visit the San Joaquin County Public Health Services website at

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.