COVID-19 FAQ

Read common questions we receive about the Baseline COVID-19 program.

What is Project Baseline?

Project Baseline is an initiative to make it easy and engaging for people to contribute to the map of human health and participate in clinical research. The Baseline platform is purpose-built for securely managing personal health information and has been in use for several years. In collaboration with the California Governor’s office, federal, state, and local public health authorities, the Baseline platform is being used to facilitate screening and testing people for COVID-19.

What is the Baseline COVID-19 Program?

The Baseline COVID-19 Program was established as part of California’s community-based testing program under the direction of the California Department of Public Health. The Baseline COVID-19 Program is a connected and secure solution to support individuals from screening through testing and receipt of their test results, which is done under physician direction. Unlike a simple digital screener, this connected solution enables follow-up with individuals who are screened for future testing based on changes in screening criteria. This program has already screened thousands of individuals in California.

What is Verily?

Project Baseline was founded by Verily, an Alphabet company focused on life sciences and healthcare and a sister company to Google.

Why am I asked to create an account?

For the Baseline COVID-19 Program to work, Verily needs a way to authenticate users to appropriately protect their information. Verily turned to Google for this service because Google Account provides best in class authentication. We ask that you link to an existing Google Account or create a new Google Account (which can be done with any email address) for authentication purposes and so that we may securely and privately contact you during the screening and testing process. All the data provided by Baseline COVID-19 Program users for screening is stored separately and not directly linked to a user’s Google Account, which is used for authentication purposes.

How is testing eligibility determined?

This program is first focusing on high-risk populations as advised by national guidelines and the California Department of Public Health. This will initially include those who may be exhibiting symptoms and have other risk factors. We are working to rapidly expand testing and will be updating the eligibility criteria once more tests become available.   

Is this only available in California?

We’re currently working with the California Department of Public Health to direct high-risk individuals to newly-launched testing centers across the state. These sites are a part of the California community-based testing program, in conjunction with federal guidelines.

As testing capabilities expand, we will work with the state of California and other local public health authorities  to scale to provide risk screening to more populations. We have developed and published a guide with input from the California Department of Public Health that includes tips and best practices to help other communities launch testing sites, and instructions on how to integrate with the Baseline COVID-19 Program.

Is the screener available to non-U.S. residents?

You do not need to be a U.S. resident. To be eligible for testing you must currently live in one of the Baseline COVID-19 Program testing locations, which currently includes Santa Clara, San Mateo, Riverside, and Sacramento counties in California.

Where are the current testing sites?

Open counties:

  • San Jose (Santa Clara county)
  • San Mateo (San Mateo county)
  • Lake Elsinore (Riverside county)
  • Sacramento (Sacramento county)

Will this affect my insurance or medical services?

No. We will not share any information with your insurance company, primary care physician or other providers without your permission; however, information may be shared with health care professionals and clinical laboratories involved in collection and processing of any biospecimens in connection with the Baseline COVID-19 Program. You and your doctor will continue to make decisions about your care.

How much does testing cost?

Testing through the program is provided free of cost. 

How will you protect my privacy and my data?

The Baseline COVID-19 Program was designed with the privacy and security of personal health information at the forefront. Verily’s Baseline COVID-19 Program is supported by our existing Baseline platform, which was built to securely manage personal health information and designed to follow applicable federal and state regulations governing the collection and use of an individual's data. Data collected by Verily from individuals is used and disclosed in accordance with the permissions obtained through our authorization form and data is stored in advanced systems with security and privacy protocols.

Verily’s Baseline COVID-19 Program uses Google infrastructure, security services, data storage, website hosting, and other support functions to safely store and protect the data collected on the COVID-19 Program website. Google has a world class team of security and privacy experts dedicated to building, maintaining, and evolving defenses for the Google ecosystem. Google works diligently to keep its infrastructure, code, data, and other intangible assets secure from unauthorized access, alteration, and disclosure. More information about Google’s secure infrastructure design can be found at its Infrastructure Security Design Overview (available at https://cloud.google.com/security/infrastructure/design/).

Why am I being asked to sign an authorization form?

We need your authorization to collect, use and share information in compliance with multiple health regulations and that authorization must be provided before screening begins. The services the Baseline COVID-19 Program is providing inherently require the limited and responsible sharing of information with other groups. Specifically, this information is being used by the California Department of Public Health and local  Departments of Public Health for their operational and planning purposes. In addition, we need to share this information with companies that are performing the testing onsite or laboratories that are running the test. This sharing is fundamental to the coordination of services and is done on limited terms to achieve the purposes of the Baseline COVID-19 Program. Verily is committed to protecting the security and privacy of individual health data entered through the Program.

Who will my data be shared with?

Verily will have access to information that directly identifies you, including your name, street address, email address, phone number, and survey responses. This information may also be provided to Verily’s contractors, the healthcare professionals who collect your specimen, the clinical laboratory that processes your specimen, the California Department of Public Health and potentially other federal, state, and local health authorities, and other entities that assist with the testing program.

The information collected will be used to perform the test, administer and improve the testing program, and for public health purposes.

Your test results may be provided to Verily and further shared with public health authorities, including the California Department of Public Health, to inform public health actions to help protect our community.

Verily uses Google infrastructure, security services, data storage, website hosting, and other support functions to safely store and protect the data collected on the COVID-19 Program website. Google’s access to data is strictly limited to the purpose of providing such services. All the data provided by Baseline COVID-19 Program users for screening is stored separately and not directly linked to a user’s Google Account, which is used for authentication purposes.

To learn more, read our privacy policy.

How do I get tested?

There are two steps to this process: screening and testing. First, you will create an account and take the online screener. If your answers from the screener determine you are eligible at this time, you will receive details on how and where to get tested. Once tested, you’ll be informed via email or phone when your COVID-19 test results are available.

My child is under 18, but I’m concerned they need to be tested. Can I fill out the screener questions for them?

Unfortunately no. At this time, only those who are 18 years or older are eligible through this program and anyone who is prioritized for testing will need to provide your reference ID number and a valid photo ID to confirm identity at the testing site. Please consult with your physician if you have concerns about your family’s health.

How is this testing program different from going to the doctor?

If you are eligible, this testing program is free of cost to you, other than any transportation costs you might incur to get to a testing site.

We won’t share any information with your insurance company, primary care physician or other providers without your permission; however, information may be shared with health care professionals and clinical laboratories involved in collection and processing of any biospecimens in connection with the Baseline COVID-19 Program. You and your doctor will continue to make decisions about your care.

We encourage you to contact your healthcare provider if you need acute or medical-related care.

I am already a member of Project Baseline, and I want to participate in the COVID-19 program. What should I do?

If you are an existing Project Baseline Community or Health Study member, use the COVID-19 Program card on your Home Page in your member portal to complete the COVID-19 Screener.

I was told that I am not eligible for testing at this time. What does this mean?

Given the limited number of appointments, public health officials have provided guidance to test certain populations of people based on symptoms and risk level. This guidance may change depending on future availability. 

We recommend that you refer to the CDC’s guidance on COVID-19.

I was told that at this time there are no tests available due to limited capacity. What should I do?

Our ability to offer testing is limited by the number of appointments available. Unfortunately this means that we cannot guarantee you will be scheduled within a certain timeframe. We will do our best to notify you when testing capacity opens up.

Please continue to monitor your personal health and follow the CDC guidance (www.cdc.gov). 

I don’t have a car. How should I get to the testing site?

Based on the CDC’s guidelines, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 you should avoid taking public transit, taxis, or ride-shares to avoid putting others at risk.

You can find more guidelines on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.

Can someone drive me to my test appointment?

Yes, someone else can drive you to your test appointment if you are unable to do so. You can be seated in the passenger side seat and proceed through the testing process.

Can I bring someone with me to the appointment?

Please try not to bring anyone to the appointment who is not being tested through this program, especially if they are feeling unwell. The exception would be for those who require a means of transportation for accessibility reasons. Those who are eligible and prioritized for testing will need to provide their reference ID number and a valid photo ID to confirm identity at the testing site. 

Please consult with your physician if you have concerns about your family’s health.

I can’t find my eligibility email with my Reference ID #. What do I do?

The email was sent to the email address that you used to set up your  Project Baseline COVID-19 account. You may have created a new Google Account when you registered for the Baseline COVID-19 Program.

Please search your inbox for an email titled “You’re eligible for COVID-19 testing”. It was sent from no-reply@projectbaseline.com. 

You can add this email address to your contacts to ensure it does not get routed to your spam folder.

My testing appointment is scheduled, but I haven’t received a confirmation email with my appointment details. What do I do?

Please be aware that you may not receive your testing appointment confirmation email immediately after your appointment is scheduled. Our team is working as fast as possible to get your test details in order, but you may experience a delay in receiving this email.

Please search your inbox and spam folder for an email title “Your COVID-19 testing” from no-reply@projectbaseline.com

You can add this email address to your contacts to ensure it does not get routed to your spam folder.

I’ve completed the COVID-19 testing. When can I expect my results?

We estimate that those tested will receive results within 2-5 days, however this may be longer depending on test processing. Lab capacity has been extremely limited in the early days of state-wide testing, and that capacity is steadily increasing over time.

It's been over 7 days since I completed the COVID-19 testing, but I am still waiting on my results. What should I do?

Please check your inbox for an email from orders@pwnhealth.com that will let you know when your results are available.

In case it has been over 7 days since your test and you can not locate the email, please reach out to covid19@pwnhealth.com.