City of Berkeley Offers Coronavirus Test to Symptomatic

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday May 06, 2020 - 11:11:00 PM

City of Berkeley Health Officer Dr. Lisa Hernandez said Wednesday that anyone who has new coronavirus symptoms can now get tested for free at a city testing site. 

Hernandez said the nine possible symptoms for COVID-19 that have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are coughing, shortness of breath, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and newly losing a sense of smell. 

Hernandez said if people have a health care provider, they should call them first, before getting a test at the city's site, because testing capacity has expanded greatly in recent weeks and providers will be the source of any follow-up care or advice. 

People who have COVID-19 symptoms, or parents of children at least 2 years old who have symptoms, can call a city of Berkeley nurse who will screen calls, according to Hernandez. 

A nurse will screen callers and schedule an appointment at the city's testing site in West Berkeley. The test screening line is (510) 981-5380 and is staffed from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. 

City of Berkeley spokesman Matthai Chakko said the city hopes to be able to test up to 1,000 people a week. 

Hernandez cautioned people that a test is only a snapshot in time and it can take anywhere from two to 14 days for people to develop symptoms after they've been exposed to the coronavirus. She also said testing won't protect people from COVID-19 and no vaccine exists for the virus at this time.