Additional COVID-19 testing sites are opening up for Berkeley residents and UC Berkeley students at various locations, which include the gym at University Village in Albany and mobile testing pop-up sites outside of both Berkeley Bowl locations.
In the continued effort to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Berkeley Public Health Division is coordinating free COVID-19 mobile testing at sites throughout Berkeley, according to city spokesperson Matthai Chakko. With mobile testing buses, the city expects to perform “over 500” tests a day, Chakko said.
“Testing is an essential part of our response, helping identify cases for a virus that spreads easily,” Chakko said in an email. “Along with recognition of COVID-19 symptoms, tests help identify when to isolate and quarantine.”
The city encourages people to get tested, Chakko added, noting that protective actions such as self-isolation, wearing masks and social distancing should also be taken to slow the spread.
Chakko also emphasized the continued need to abide by the established safety guidelines, noting the potential for individuals to misinterpret a negative COVID-19 test result. Given that the virus may not be detectable for two weeks following exposure, people can get tested too early and ultimately become positive later on, according to Chakko.
A COVID-19 testing bus will be stationed outside Berkeley Bowl Marketplace on Wednesday and Berkeley Bowl West on Jan. 20. People are encouraged to sign up online, Chakko said, to ensure the availability of a time slot upon their arrival.
Berkeley Bowl maintains steady communication with the Berkeley Public Health Division in the effort to continue safely providing its essential shopping services to the community, said Steve Tsujimoto, Berkeley Bowl Marketplace general manager, in an email.
“Because of our relationship with Berkeley Public Health, when an opportunity arose, we were happy to offer our facilities to serve as a convenient, location for the mobile testing units,” Tsujimoto said in his email.
Additionally, University Health Services, or UHS, has partnered with University Village in opening up a free surveillance testing site for registered students and University Village staff, according to UHS spokesperson Tami Cate. Beginning Jan. 26, all registered students living at University Village will be required to get tested once a week.
Testing will be offered by appointment for only Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and results will be made available within three days on the eTang patient portal.
“As the campus increases its level of in-person activity this semester, it is also increasing the COVID-19 testing requirements in several areas,” Cate said in an email. “Surveillance testing requirements have now been expanded to include the (University Village) community.”
Chakko added that another mobile testing site will be stationed on Harold Way on Jan. 19 and that the city intends to set up more COVID-19 testing options in the coming weeks.