On Monday, the City of Hayward will open a testing facility so sick people, first responders, and health-care workers with recent suspected exposures to the novel coronavirus can be tested for infection.

The COVID-19 Testing Center, at Hayward Fire Station #7, 28270 Huntwood Avenue., has been established to take pressure off hospital emergency rooms, provide quicker answers for recently exposed first responders and health care workers, and to enhance the region’s capacity to suppress new transmissions through isolation after testing.

“Suppression, through isolation after testing, or SIT, as we call it, is an approach that has proven to be most effective in countries on the leading edge of this pandemic,” said Hayward Fire Chief Garrett Contreras.

The Station 7 COVID-19 Testing Center is made possible through a partnership with Avellino Lab USA, Inc., of Menlo Park, a global leader in gene therapy and molecular diagnostics with a focus in precision medicine for eye care.

The Testing Center, which will operate everyday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., will be staffed by Hayward Fire Department firefighter-paramedics, and supported by ambulance company emergency-medical technicians (EMTs).

It is free to the public and open to anyone regardless of where they live or immigration status.

People who present themselves for testing will first go through a two-step screening process for COVID-19 disease before being administered a test, which involves swabbing of the nasal cavities and back of the throat.

To be tested, people will be screened for illness, which includes fever, cough and/or shortness of breath, and/or other respiratory symptoms.

No referral from a medical doctor is required to be screened. Results can be available in as little as six hours or the next day in most cases.

The Center is outfitted with enough kits to test up to 350 people a day—and the Hayward Fire Department and Avellino are working with other Bay Area communities to help open additional testing sites elsewhere in the region.

For more information on coronavirus and the City of Hayward’s response to the pandemic, go online to the City’s COVID-19 Updates webpage.  Or call the Hayward COVID-19 hotline at (510) 583-4949, which is staffed 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.