A Portland, Oregon-based operator of urgent-care clinics, Zoom+Care, and Washington-based Molecular Testing Labs, have teamed up to pilot a COVID-19 self-testing kit using volunteer patients in the Seattle area.
Zoom+Care, which operates 46 walk-in clinics in the Pacific Northwest, most in Seattle and Portland, says if the pilot is successful, it could lay the foundation for Zoom+Care to begin distributing the COID-19 self-testing kits to in-home patients across the region.
“Firstly, we want to ease the COVID-19 testing bottleneck," says Dr. Erik Vanderlip, Zoom+Care’s chief medical officer. “If successful, this project could offer an alternative to [health care ] provider-led testing.”
“Secondly, we hope to validate the use of salivary sampling for COVID-19 — an outcome that would drastically improve testing capabilities.”
Vanderlip says at this time there is a nationwide shortage of swabs needed to perform nose- and throat-based testing.
Zoom+Care is currently seeking candidates in the Seattle area to participate in the pilot. They must currently be experiencing coronavirus-related symptoms — fever and cough or fever and shortness of breath — be 18 or older and able to transport themselves to a Zoom+Care testing site located in East Seattle. Individuals interested in being considered for the pilot can do so at this website.
Zoom+Care, a subsidiary of Vancouver, Washington-based nonprofit Catholic health system PeaceHealth, earlier this month announced that it had expanded its telehealth care service ChatCare to the greater Seattle market ahead of schedule in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in Washington. The ChatCare service is now offering a free COVID-19 risk assessment.
If the self-testing pilot proves successful, Zoom+Care officials say it “could open the door to self-sampling for COVID-19 and lay the groundwork for Zoom+Care to distribute test kits to patients in-home across the Pacific Northwest.”