Hayward Fire Department launches COVID-19 testing center

Cars line up for screening of occupants at the entrance of the testing center

By Jun Nucum

The COVID-19 testing center in Hayward California got off to a good start with Hayward residents and in their cars lining up to avail of free COVID-19 test.

The testing center located at the Hayward Fire Station #7, 28270 Huntwood Avenue near corner Tennyson Avenue was established to take pressure off hospital emergency rooms, respond quickly to queries, recently exposed first responders and health care workers, and to enhance the region’s screening capacity.

In an interview, Hayward Fire Department Public Information Officer Don Nicholson appealed to people with no symptom to not come for they may just be turned away,

“If you have a fever above a hundred degrees you are going to get a test. If you have traveled recently out of the country to Europe or Asia, if you have a cough, shortness of breath difficulty breathing, if you are susceptible to immunity issues, if you have a heart, lung, liver disease, chronic illness and you are aged 65 you will probably get tested,” Nicholson assures.

Hayward Fire Department Public Information Officer Don Nicholson

Their test consists of doing swabs at both sides at the back of the nasal cavity and back of the throat which is invasive.   

Results may be known in as fast as six hours and up to 24 hours at the most with the doctor notifying the patient whether he is positive and advising him to self-quarantine.

In the State of California, as of 2 p.m., March 23 there are 2,102 positive cases and 40 deaths. Approximately 27,650 tests had been conducted that includes the latest numbers California received from commercial and private labs. At least 15,554 results have been received and another 12,100 are pending

“The reception so far has been very good, very positive. There were 141 people that have driven up so far and there is still a long line, walk-up is about 105 and first responders are about 30 people. As of this writing, it is about 233. We have test kits that are up to 370 per day. Recently we did 192 tests although we had a lot of people that had to be turned away because they did not meet the criteria,” Nicholson revealed.

There were about 50 people that are in frontlines, including testers and screeners from Fremont Fire Department, United Ambulance and from Chabot College who assisted the Hayward Fire and Police Department.

Nicholson also shared that the funding for the testing projects basically came from the City of Hayward through the city council and city manager

“We want to thank the Hayward Fire Chief Garret Contreras for coming up with this, Hayward City Council, city manager, all the city resources, Hayward Police Department, streets maintenance for they all came together to help. The outside agencies, that included the Fremont Fire Department, Chabot College students and United Ambulance. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), were a big help too,” a grateful Nicholson stated.

The Station 7 COVID-19 Testing Center that will run for at least three weeks is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is made possible through a partnership with Avellino Lab USA, Inc., of Menlo Park, a global leader in gene therapy and molecular diagnostics with a focus in precision medicine for eye care.

For more information on coronavirus and the City of Hayward’s response to the pandemic, go to the City’s COVID-19 Updates webpage. Or call the Hayward COVID-19 hotline at (510) 583-4949, which is staffed 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.