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Google's coronavirus screening website leads to 130 tests in first 3 days

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A website developed by a subsidiary of Google's parent company has screened 12,000 people for coronavirus since it launched Sunday night, ultimately leading to 130 tests. Another 350 people were scheduled to be tested in the coming days.

The website, called Project Baseline, was designed by Verily Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc.

Officials at a March 13 White House press conference indicated the site would be a national resource. So far, the site serves California's Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

"We've established multiple Bay Area sites, staffed by healthcare professionals and Verily team members, including two large expo centers that facilitate drive through screening and sample collection," Verily said in a blog post Thursday night.

The website begins with a survey to determine eligibility — residing within 50 miles of the two counties covered; having a mild cough, shortness of breath and a fever. 

verily-covid-test-site.jpg
The photo, provided by Verily Life Sciences, shows a car approach one of the company's drive-through coronavirus testing sites in San Mateo County, California. Verily Life Sciences

Those who are eligible then receive a lengthier questionnaire to assess risk. To proceed to that step, users must have a Google account. The site's privacy policy claims "your data collected...will never be joined with your data stored in Google products without your explicit permission."

Those who are selected for tests are directed to one of several Bay Area drive-through sites where a nasal swab can be collected and sent to a lab. 

The government hopes the website will ultimately streamline the process for Americans to determine if they should be tested and where they should go for testing.

The company said in its blog post it expects to begin expanding its operations soon.

"Building on learnings from these critical first few days, we expect an increase in our testing capacity in the coming days," the company said.

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