New Coronavirus Testing Finder Leaves Oklahoma, Other States Out
A slow but consistent flow of vehicles line up in a drive-thru area as a Walgreens pharmacist assists them with COVID-19 testing in Dallas, Saturday April 25, 2020. This location began testing for the new coronavirus on Friday with a drive-thru process and is provided to eligible individuals at no cost. Persons wanting to be tested are asked to go online to the store's website to determine their eligibility. The nasal swab test is self administered with directions from store pharmacist. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

New Coronavirus Testing Finder Leaves Oklahoma, Other States Out

Google can now help people find the nearest novel coronavirus testing facilities in 43 states, leaving some states, including Oklahoma, left out.

Most users looking for COVID-19 testing facilities will be directly navigated to a Google Map showing the nearest locations to them.

This is Google’s newest feature in hopes of helping to stop the spread of COVID-19. Users can type in “coronavirus testing centers” to get directions to nearby facilities.

Google has also added a $50 million commitment to assist global efforts in fighting the pandemic.

Public health authorities have approved testing facilities in 43 states. Google stated the new feature would only be available in those states and that its list of testing locations is incomplete, including in New York.

Google said it is slowly building the list in New York since it is one of the states that has been most affected by the virus. The states excluded from the Google Map feature are Oregon, Pennsylvania, Maine, Connecticut, Oklahoma, New Jersey and Missouri.

University of Central Oklahoma senior Alejandra Godinez said it makes her nervous that the feature isn’t available in Oklahoma.

“I am not really worried about myself,” Godinez said. “I am more worried about my mom because she’s older and I know she’s at a higher risk.”

Godinez said she has been running errands for her household, including grocery shopping for her family.

Public health authorities have approved most states for testing; however, a few of those states are not offering tests to the general public. Some testing facilities are limiting who they test.

As the number of COVID-19 cases increase, some people around the U.S. are asking why their cities are not offering widespread testing, and why Google Maps did not launch the feature in their city.

“We shouldn’t have to worry about facilities not testing here in Oklahoma; we should all be tested because we are all at risk,” said Paulina Huizar, a sociology major at UCO.

Huizar works at a grocery store as a vendor and was told she is considered an essential employee. She said she is around people all day and feels she is risking her life when she goes to work.

“If I start to feel sick, I should be able to Google the nearest clinic to me too, just like everybody else,” Huizar said.

Where widespread testing remains unavailable, public health officials continue to recommend that people avoid going outside unless they are shopping for essentials or going to an essential job.

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