California Researchers Test Everybody in One Town for CCP Virus

April 22, 2020 Updated: April 22, 2020

BOLINAS, Calif.—Researchers began testing an entire town in northern California for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, and its antibodies on April 20, one of the first such efforts since the pandemic hit the United States.

Test in Bolinas
Medical professionals conduct tests for COVID-19 in Bolinas, where all residents are being tested for the CCP virus and its antibodies, in Bolinas, Calif., on April 20, 2020. (Kate Munsch/Reuters)

Bolinas, a wealthy beach town in Marin County, near Silicon Valley, raised funds to test all 1,680 of its residents, in partnership with University of California-San Francisco (UCSF).

Dr. Aenor Sawyer, an assistant professor at UCSF and a Bovinas resident, said the town is uniquely situated to teach the medical community about how the disease spreads because it lies two miles from a highway with no through road.

Dr. Aenor Sawyer Bolinas
Dr. Aenor Sawyer, a physician at UCSF and resident of Bolinas, wears a face mask as she takes part in the testing of all village residents for the CCP virus and its antibodies, in Bolinas, California, on April 20, 2020. (Kate Munsch/Reuters)

“So we’re fairly isolated, rural, and (with) stable ecosystems right now for the last several weeks. So it will be very interesting to see the footprint of the virus in this arena,” Sawyer said.

Dr. Aenor Sawyer Bolinas
Dr. Aenor Sawyer, a physician at UCSF and resident of Bolinas, wears a face mask as she takes part in the testing of all village residents for the CCP virus and its antibodies, in Bolinas, California, on April 20, 2020. (Kate Munsch/Reuters)

The tests are being offered for free. Volunteers direct the town’s residents to drive into four testing bays set up for nasal swabs and finger pricks. The swabs are used to test for the CCP virus, while the finger prick is used to collect blood samples that will be tested for antibodies which can help show who has been infected and recovered.

Volunteers direct traffic Bolinas
Volunteers direct traffic in Bolinas, where all residents are being tested for the CCP virus and its antibodies, in Bolinas, Calif., on April 20, 2020. (Kate Munsch/Reuters)
test in Bolinas
Medical professionals conduct tests for COVID-19 in Bolinas, where all residents are being tested for the CCP virus and its antibodies, in Bolinas, Calif., on April 20, 2020. (Kate Munsch/Reuters)

There have been no confirmed CCP virus cases in Bolinas, but many residents are older than 60 and at higher risk from contracting COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

Telluride, Colorado, and Fisher Island, Florida, are two other wealthy towns providing free diagnostic tests for all their residents.

Mission District, Too

The testing in Bolinas is the first of a two-part study in which UCSF researchers will examine the spread of the disease in both rural and urban areas.

test in Bolinas
Medical professionals conduct tests for COVID-19 in Bolinas, where all residents are being tested for the CCP virus and its antibodies, in Bolinas, Calif., on April 20, 2020. (Kate Munsch/Reuters)

Researchers have chosen the Mission District, a vibrant inner city neighborhood with Latino roots in San Francisco, for the second location. Testing will start there on Saturday.

Tests Tents Bolinas
Tents used to established a site on a road for medical professionals to conduct tests for COVID-19 are seen in Bolinas, where all residents are being tested for the CCP virus and its antibodies, in Bolinas, Calif., on April 20, 2020. (Kate Munsch/Reuters)

“There are two paired sites that are going on right now: One here in Bolinas, which is very rural and people are quite separated and it’s isolated. And another, less than an hour’s drive away, in the Mission District of San Francisco, where it’s very densely populated, people live very close to each other, and it’s very connected,” said Dr. Bryan Greenhouse, an assistant professor at UCSF and one of the study’s researchers.

“By sort of book-ending the different types of communities that we’re evaluating within a short period of time, we hope to be able to extrapolate much more to different places throughout northern California.”

By Nathan Frandino

Epoch Times staff contributed to this report