April 23, 2020 by Maggie Fusek, Patch Staff
NAPA COUNTY, CA— Napa County announced the expansion of free coronavirus testing in the county through a collaboration with California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the nonprofit group Community Organized Relief Effort — or CORE, founded by Sean Penn in 2010 in response to the Haiti earthquake — and Verily, which developed the Baseline COVID-19 Program, an online portal through which Napa County residents can be screened for symptoms of the virus.
After entering their symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath into the portal, residents who meet the screening and testing criteria are prompted to schedule a test online, according to a joint news release from Napa County and CORE.
Priority for the testing is given to symptomatic persons.
Asymptomatic first responders or those who work in a health care facility or prison/jail and live or work in Napa County who may have been exposed to COVID-19 are also eligible for testing, according to the news release.
Verily’s Baseline COVID-19 Program provides a connected solution to support individuals from screening through testing and receipt of their test results. Verily developed The Baseline COVID-19 Program working closely with state and local government health authorities and other private health organizations to expand access to COVID-19 screening and testing in areas with a high volume of known cases.
Napa County residents interested in finding out more about the testing may visit Countyofnapa.org/COVID19TEST and click on “Get Tested,” or go straight to Projectbaseline.com/covid-19/ to screen their symptoms and schedule a testing appointment if eligible. Eligibility is based on criteria from the California Department of Public Health; details on when and how to be tested at the Napa Valley Community-based Testing Site are provided once a person is deemed eligible.
Entry to the testing site is only open to people in four-wheel, closed-top, non-commercial, non-recreational vehicles. Walk-ins are not permitted access to the site. Those seeking to be tested must have an appointment and must provide their confirmation information upon arrival at the testing site.
COVID-19 test results, once complete, are returned via the Baseline portal by email or phone.
Low to moderate-income residents who test positive, and need to self-quarantine, will be encouraged to apply for emergency financial assistance through a program established by Napa Valley Community Foundation.
“Governor Newsom has identified six indicators to safely and scientifically evaluate how the shelter-at-home will gradually be modified and the State of California will re-open,” said Supervisor Diane Dillon, Chair of the Napa County Board of Supervisors. “The availability of testing is the initial piece of the first indicator; we are grateful to have this opportunity and partnership to expand testing in Napa County.”
Community members Rob and Lydia Mondavi introduced the partnership to Napa County Public Health after Lydia Mondavi reached out to members of the CORE Response Team in an effort to expand testing to Napa County’s farmworker community.
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Lydia Mondavi also engaged local physician Dr. Ingrid Hohimer McNicoll and Napa Valley Vintners in the effort.
“It is our honor to work with leadership as competent as Governor Newsom and Napa County Public Health to expand free testing and serve their local community of farmworkers and those on the front lines,” CORE co-founders Sean Penn and Ann Lee said. “The NGO / local governance partnership is a replicable model throughout the country, and we hope to encourage more of it.”
“CORE has been instrumental in gaining access to testing and results,” Lydia Mondavi said. “They have tried and true methods and understand how to deploy in emergencies such as COVID-19, and I am grateful to have CORE working with us to serve the Napa community. It is remarkable how fast CORE was prepared and willing to mobilize, and it is heartwarming to see the community come together to support this effort.”
Napa Valley Vintners sponsored the effort and underwrote some of the associated hard costs.
“Napa Valley Vintners is proud to be able to help bring this critical testing to our community, and we are deeply grateful to the volunteers and frontline medical professionals who will help carry it out,” Napa Valley Vintners President & CEO Linda Reiff said.