New database created to find COVID-19 testing centers
IDAHO FALLS — With a constant surge of COVID-19 cases across Idaho, a government agency is teaming up with a volunteer project to maintain an accurate database for COVID-19 testing centers.
The database, Get Tested COVID-19, is a community-led project that spans across the United States to help people find out where they can get tested for the virus. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced on Thursday they are partnering with the website to help with the database in the Gem State.
“We’re excited to make this available for Idahoans who are seeking testing for the virus that causes COVID-19,” Sonja Schriever, chief of the Bureau of Community and Environmental Health in the Division of Public Health, said in a news release. “We hope this provides information for individuals about testing availability and testing sites that are close to home.
The website works by typing in a ZIP code. The system then populates a list and map of testing centers within a 40-mile radius. Along with the name, location and hours, other information is provided, such as the need for a referral, drive-thru testing and whether a free test is available.
IDHW spokeswoman Niki Forbing-Orr told EastIdahoNews.com those needing free testing should call the centers beforehand and see their options. People can also reach out to their local health district to discover their options.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act “ensures that COVID-19 testing is free to anyone in the U.S., including the uninsured,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The act requires that health plans and insurers provide COVID-19 testing without imposing any shared costs, such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. The actual test must be federally approved. The Food and Drug Administration has an FAQ page with more information.
Testing conducted to screen for general workplace health and safety, such as employee return to work programs, are not covered under the response act, according to The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The Get Tested COVID-19 website currently has 8,163 testing centers through all 50 states. Dozens of volunteers operate it and come from four countries. Their areas of expertise include web design, data science and marketing.
The website is updated weekly and people can submit information about new Idaho testing sites to firstname.lastname@example.org.