It appears that Amazon, along with the Gates Foundation, are beginning to use their considerable resources to try and aid those that might be stuck in their homes but still want to be tested for the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, especially in regions that have seen a higher number of cases.
Amazon will reportedly be delivering and picking up tests from homes that have requested them around King's County in Washington state, which is where the city of Seattle resides.
According to CNBC:
The research effort, backed by the Gates Foundation, is called the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network, or SCAN. The SCAN researchers hope to learn how the infection is spreading among different demographic groups, which could provide a window into how the virus is likely to progress. Testing has still been limited in the U.S., and in many areas is still highly restricted.
Amazon Care, the arm of Amazon providing medical care to employees, is helping with the delivery and logistics. It will deliver tests to people who either feel sick or are asymptomatic. Amazon Care will pick them up for analysis. If the coronavirus is detected in swabs, the participant will be contacted by a health-care worker.
The involvement is limited to Amazon Care, and not Amazon’s broader network, an Amazon Care spokesperson explained. All the couriers involved have been trained in handling medical material, and they will distribute the self-swab kits to the homes of those who have requested them.
There is no word whether the program will eventually move to other high risk areas around the country, but the advent of home test delivery and pickup could help in highly populated areas where out-of-home travel is limited.
"Responding to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis must be a community effort and requires support from both the private and public sectors," Amazon Care director Kristen Helton told CNBC.