COVID-19 Testing

Zac Bowling

Alameda’s COVID-19 testing site has been plagued with temporary shutdowns and confusion since it began operating Wednesday, July 22.

CityHealth Urgent Care, a healthcare organization based in San Leandro that is conducting Alameda’s COVID-19 testing site, temporarily shut down the site on July 24. The site, at 300 Wind River Way, has transitioned from a walk-in testing format to an appointment-only format, according to the CityHealth website. However, the appointment booking feature is disabled as of Tuesday, July 28. When trying to book an appointment online, the feature states, “No times are available online.” There is no number listed on the website to call to make an appointment. An inquiry to CityHealth Urgent Care was not returned by press time.

There is testing currently being conducted at The Research Park site inside the Marina Village Business Park. Vehicles can be seen entering the curbside testing site. It is most likely testing is being administered to people who made appointments before the appointment feature was disabled.

CityHealth announced it would convert to an appointment-only format a day after the testing site opened. The company was bombarded by people seeking coronavirus tests on its first day of operation, according to the City of Alameda. The city announced in a press release, “the testing site saw attendance beyond expectations.” The organization announced plans to administer up to 500 tests per day, however, CityHealth said it administered more than 1,000 tests on the first day.

There were also unforeseen health insurance issues on the first day of testing, according to the City.

“Simultaneously, there was an unanticipated and unfortunate issue with liability insurance coverage,” according to the City.

CityHealth shut down operations because of the two problems.

“To allow for the site to be reconfigured to ensure safe and efficient testing and to address insurance issues, the new facility is temporarily pausing operations,” according to the City.

CityHealth declared that testing would be free for anyone with proof of insurance. CityHealth is billing the insurance provider of people who take the test. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is covering the cost of COVID-19 testing for those who do not have insurance.

CItyHealth initially said testing would run through Sept. 22. It is unknown if CityHealth will schedule new testing appointments.

The City of Alameda is just a facilitator in helping the site open and does not run the testing operations.