COVID-19 WATCH

Texas company launching 1st at-home test for COVID-19

Photo via: EverlyWell/Facebook

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

Responding to the short supply of COVID-19 tests around the country, Austin startup Everlywell will roll out a new at-home test for consumers beginning on Monday, March 23.

Everywell, which already offers an array of at-home lab tests, says 30,000 COVID-19 tests will be available in the initial batch. Free telehealth consultations will be provided for people who test positive for COVID-19, or the coronavirus.

As TIME first reported, this is the first U.S. company to offer at-home COVID-19 test kits directly to consumers.

"The extreme shortage of tests for COVID-19 puts millions of Americans at risk," Julia Cheek, founder and CEO of Everlywell, said in a March 18 release. "Everlywell is committed to helping stop the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. by making this test widely available. As the national leader in at-home lab testing, we want to use our resources and expertise to help as many people as we can. We are committed to this fight, and we're here to help."

Working with a number of diagnostic labs, Everlywell plans to create testing and diagnosis capacity for 250,000 people per week.

Everlywell recently launched a $1 million program aimed at encouraging labs to fast-track development of an at-home COVID-19 diagnostic test. Many labs stepped up to the task, enabling Everlywell to create a COVID-19 testing and diagnosis infrastructure in a matter of days.

"Our team has been working around the clock with top scientists and laboratories in the nation to develop a test that we will make available at the lowest price possible while covering our costs, at no profit to the company," Cheek says. "We have also reached out to government and public health officials to explore possibilities to provide it for free."

Each test costs $135, and is covered by participating providers of health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts.

The test can be requested online by consumers experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Samples can be collected at home, preventing further exposure for consumers and the public. All of Everlywell's lab partners conducting COVID-19 tests comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's emergency rules for COVID-19 testing.

Continue on CultureMap to find out how quickly results from the test will be available.

Galveston beaches will be closed through Sunday, April 5, per a new order. Photo courtesy of Galveston Island Visitors & Convention Bureau

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

As beaches across the nation continue to see throngs of visitors seemingly ignoring social-distancing or stay-at-home orders, the city of Galveston has taken action to try to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the city and county.

Effective March 29, all public beaches in Galveston will be closed. Additionally, vehicle traffic will be restricted on the west end of the Seawall. By state law, the order runs through Sunday, April 5, according to a press release from the city.

Per the most recent reporting, the Galveston County Health District has confirmed 60 cases of COVID-19 within the county. "The City of Galveston's top priority is the health and safety of its residents and it is in guidance from federal and local health authorities that these actions are being taken," according to the statement.

Before this directive, the City of Galveston had attempted to avoid closing public beaches "because it is our desire that residents have an area to exercise and get fresh air while maintaining safe social distancing," reads the statement.

Continue on CultureMap to learn about the strict enforcement.

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