A Kaiser Permanente clinician swabs for COVID-19 while a patient sits in the car at one of Kaiser's Bay Area drive-up coronavirus testing sites. (Photo by Doug Oakley/Kaiser Permanente)

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With health professionals expecting the spread of the coronavirus to accelerate, Kaiser Permanente is setting up several drive-up testing sites for its members at East Bay locations.

The drive-up testing sites are only for Kaiser members, and only those who meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for testing and have a doctor’s order to be tested, Kaiser officials said Sunday.

Kaiser spokeswoman Kerri Leedy would not say where these drive-up stations are operating, because they are not open to the public. This is a pilot program currently being tested at Kaiser’s Northern California medical centers.

“We expect all our medical centers to eventually offer some form of alternative testing sites,” Leedy said.

The outdoor drive-up testing stations will enable Kaiser to safely test patients while minimizing potential COVID19 exposure to Kaiser medical staff, Leedy said, and helps enable better management of supplies of protective equipment for both patients and staff.

At a telephone news conference Sunday, Marty Ardron, Kaiser’s senior vice president and area manager for the HMO’s Diablo Service Area including much of central Contra Costa and eastern Contra Costa and Alameda counties, said Kaiser is ready for a surge of COVID-19 patients.