Mobile COVID-19 testing units are expected to arrive in five Bay Area counties in the coming weeks with the intent of making testing more accessible to residents without burdening public health systems.
BusTest Express, founded by executives of the passenger transportation company Storer Transportation, launched in December and is currently providing coronavirus tests in Southern California and the Central Valley.
The company’s first mobile testing site in the Bay Area recently opened in Berkeley with the capacity to test up to 500 residents per day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“These buses are designed for mobility, and can go wherever they’re needed to dramatically increase healthcare capacity in both urban centers and rural areas, along with underserved and hard-to-reach populations,” said Donald Storer, BusTest Express’ co-founder and president.
The company expects to expand its operations into Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma counties in the coming weeks, offering no-contact, self-swab tests and results within 24-72 hours.
Donald Storer and Sarah Storer, Donald’s daughter and the company’s vice president and co-founder, launched BusTest Express after Storer Transportation’s buses sat unused when the pandemic first began.
The company now has testing sites in Fresno, San Bernardino, Imperial and Santa Barbara counties in addition to the Berkeley site at Allston Way near Berkeley City Hall and Berkeley High School.
“Our business model plans for rapid growth and deployment in this newly-developed service industry, and we are looking for partners in the motorcoach industry nationwide,” Donald Storer said.
State health officials determine where BusTest Express should allocate its mobile testing sites, according to a spokesperson for the company, based on where they’re needed most at a given time.
The buses are outfitted inside with air filtration systems to protect on-board health care workers from inhaling potentially harmful particles and have electricity, running water, Wi-Fi and rest areas.
“Mobile clinics and health outreach services are in high demand in our country; however, a full-service vehicle and operations management package — that includes the ability to rent the vehicle — has never been an industry option until now,” said Sarah Storer.