After less than 24 hours, the website Google’s sister company Verily launched to help people find coronavirus tests isn’t able to schedule more appointments. It was positioned as a small pilot for California’s Bay Area to begin with, instead of the expansive site the White House characterized it as, and that positioning has turned out to be very true.
The site was at capacity on Monday morning, Wired’s Lauren Goode reported. We asked Verily how many people it allowed in, why capacity was reached, and when it might open up again for more. Verily declined to comment on those questions. Instead, it sent this statement:
All appointments require a call-back confirmation to schedule an appointment. If someone were to fill out the questionnaire overnight, they would go into a queue to be called the next day should they qualify. In these first few days of this pilot, we expect appointment availability to be limited as we stand up operations and that testing capacity will increase in the days to come.
The new coronavirus is spreading through the US, and several states have made emergency declarations. The World Health Organization has declared it a pandemic. Here are the basics:
Google plans on launching its own website later today, though Google’s website is not expected to include screening questions or the ability to find a drive-thru testing facility. Instead, as described by CEO Sundar Pichai, it will be mostly informational, directing people to trustworthy sources. He did promise that Google would “continue to enhance and update it with more resources on an ongoing basis.”
The company has expressed hope that Verily’s site could expand over time, but it’s too early to say what that timeline might be.
For those looking for a single, national resource for finding out whether and how to get tested, the Verily website currently isn’t it and neither is Google’s proposed site. Whether by Google, Verily, or somebody else, it’s unclear if such a site is being built despite the administration’s claims. For now, the best way to find accurate information on whether you should get tested and how to get access to a test is to check with your doctor or a local hospital.