Coronavirus-testing tents pop up on Stanford campus and in Menlo Park | News | Almanac Online |


Coronavirus-testing tents pop up on Stanford campus and in Menlo Park

Medical organizations are adding outdoor facilities in anticipation of more people coming down with the virus

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Stanford Health Care is gearing up for larger-scale testing of patients with COVID-19 symptoms, erecting tents on the Stanford University campus for use starting in the next few days, a spokeswoman said.

The additional testing capacity is in response to a growing need to identify COVID-19-positive patients as the virus spreads. Stanford Health Care has so far installed five large white tents and a cluster of smaller ones in its Galvez Street parking lot along Campus Drive, across from the Bing Concert Hall. The medical center has had a site at Hoover Pavilion running for at least 1 ½ weeks.

"We’re preparing to extend outpatient COVID-19 testing to the Galvez location for patients with a Stanford physician order," spokeswoman Lisa Kim said. "Patients may call Stanford Express Care at 650-498-9000 to schedule a video visit with a Stanford physician, who will evaluate and refer them for testing if needed. We’ll provide more information in the coming days as details are finalized.”

Last week, Menlo Medical Clinic also started a drive-through clinic on Middlefield Road in Menlo Park for COVID-19 testing.

"They are currently taking scheduled Menlo (Clinic) patients based on certain clinical criteria. Again, they must have a physician’s order to be tested," Kim said.

Jennifer Thrift, spokeswoman for El Camino Hospital, said the medical provider has tents constructed at its Mountain View and Los Gatos campuses. The tents are not currently in use.

"We continue to take proactive steps to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and employees, and this includes preparing for the potential of a surge of patients," she said.

"The tents at both campuses will help ensure our ability to continue to care for patients in a safe environment,” she said. The preparation “is in line with our scenario planning for dealing with infectious diseases, including treatment or recovery in isolated areas in compliance with CDC guidelines."

Other medical organizations, including Kaiser Permanente and Sutter/Palo Alto Medical Foundation, continue to triage patients and test them for COVID-19 when referred by a physician. Kaiser Redwood City has a yellow and blue tent in the roundabout area in front of its entrance, and Palo Alto Medical has placed a tent in a parking lot at the rear of its campus. In all cases, people who suspect they have COVID-19 are asked to contact their physicians by phone or through video conferences.

On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the rate of testing is increasing across the state, albeit slowly. As of March 24, 27,650 tests had been conducted, which includes the latest numbers California has received from commercial and private labs. At least 15,554 results have been received and another 12,100 are pending, according to the governor’s website. He plans to further address the testing issue on Wednesday in a press conference.

If you've used a drive-through COVID-19 testing service, we'd like to hear about your experience. Send us an email at

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and The Almanac here.

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Like this comment
Posted by justisolating
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 28, 2020 at 9:58 am

Taking samples is great, but is the state actually able to process them? As of Thursday afternoon the backlog of unprocessed tests was at 65k. How long are people going to be waiting for results?

From the CA Dept of Public Health release:

> As of 2 p.m. PDT on March 26, approximately 88,400 tests had been conducted in California. This includes the latest numbers California has received from commercial and private labs and the 22 state and county health labs that are currently testing. Commercial, provider and academic labs have increased testing capacity and are now reporting that data to the state. The biggest labs included in this count include Quest, LabCorp, Kaiser, University of California and Stanford.

> At least 23,480 results have been received and another 65,000 are pending.

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