ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — A Bay Area-based transportation company that was stalled by the pandemic has turned some of its buses into mobile COVID-19 testing centers.
One rolled out in Alameda County last week and more are headed for several other Bay Area communities in the days ahead.
On Thursday, the Alameda County bus test express helped get people tested for COVID-19 in Berkeley. Starting next week, more of the rolling clinics, that can each provide 500 tests a day, will hit the roads between five other Bay Area counties as well.
The idea of turning what used to be a tour bus or commuter coach into a mobile testing pop-up came after the pandemic put the brakes on a local transportation company storer coach ways.
“When the pandemic hit, all the buses went idol obviously tourism all transportation halted except for public transit,” Sarah Storer said. “So we thought to ourselves, the vehicles could be utilized to drive around to provide equity in testing and vaccination services they’re pretty much fully equipped.”
The 45-foot coach can provide the medical staff with WiFi needed for computers, running water, AC, heat, power and eventually they expect to be able to provide proper storage for vaccine and bring them where they are needed most.
“The a vehicle can essentially go to farmworkers, we can go to urban areas,” Storer said.
And they can do it in a open air environment.
“The clinicians are on the bus but they provide your testing through the window. So you come up to the window kiosk and you’ll get your test or eventually your vaccination,” Storer said. “So it’s an open air environment you really don’t have to touch anything if you don’t want to.”
Storer is the great granddaughter of the company’s founders, who started providing disabled children a way to get to school in the Bay Area back in 1952.
They are excited to be able to both get their buses back out on the road while helping their community get easier access to health care — a road they expect their company will continue to travel past the eventual end of this pandemic.