Verily, the life sciences arm of Google parent Alphabet, on Monday said it’s working with Rite Aid to open up its coronavirus screening website for the first time beyond California, expanding to eight new states.
The website, which launched last month, allows people to take a screener survey to see if they should go to testing stations for COVID-19. As part of the expansion, the tool will now help send people to tests in Delaware, Idaho, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Rite Aid is working with the Department of Health and Human Services to operate the testing sites.
On Monday, Verily said the website has screened more than 150,800 people and facilitated testing for more than 19,500 since April 24.
The expansion comes as experts look to the widespread availability of testing as a critical component of reopening the US economy. That would include making sure there are enough tests at hand for health care workers and people who are showing symptoms of the virus.
Verily’s screening website is one of several projects from Silicon Valley giants that aims to help with coronavirus relief. Google and Apple have teamed up to offer contact tracing tools. The effort will let health authorities build apps that use signals from people’s phones to alert them if they’ve been in contact with anyone who’s tested positive for the disease.
Still, Verily’s screening website has drawn scrutiny from lawmakers. In order to take the online screener, the site requires people to sign in using a Google account. Over the last few weeks, a group of Democratic senators has pressed Verily about the issue. Earlier this month, Verily indicated it would keep the requirement for security and authentication reasons.