By Chand Bellur
April 29, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. PT
- The novel coronavirus pandemic has now infected over one million Americans and killed almost 60,000.
- Widespread testing is critical to containing COVID-19.
- Apple Maps features locations of nearby COVID-19 testing locations.
Apple Expands Maps to Include COVID-19 Testing Sites
Much of the world is still on lockdown; however, life must go on, even amid a pandemic. If global economies continue their downward spiral, many more people will die from hardship, in addition to the disease.
Opening up the world doesn’t mean engaging in risky and haphazard behavior. Social distancing, masks, and facility capacity management are crucial to providing safe experiences for customers and patrons. Testing is also essential to cease the spread of COVID-19.
Testing, tracing contacts, and isolating the infected and possibly exposed is the best hope to ending the pandemic. These techniques helped resolve localized epidemics such as SARS, MERS, and Ebola. A pandemic is simply an epidemic that has jumped borders. According to the WHO, there is no technical definition of a pandemic. The word is more descriptive than scientific, as there is no clear threshold for declaring a pandemic.
Apple’s efforts in containing COVID-19 go above and beyond other corporations. Being one of the largest corporations on the planet, they have a lot to lose from a pandemic. The Cupertino company has donated face masks, face shields, money, expertise, technology and now makes it easy to find COVID-19 testing sites across the nation.
Beginning on April 17, Apple deployed new data to Maps, adding hundreds of COVID-19 testing locations. They also added a website enabling healthcare institutions to self-report testing locations, which populate Apple Maps. Self-service should speed up Apple’s ability to show new testing locations as they become available.
How to Find COVID-19 Testing Locations in Apple Maps
Finding COVID-19 testing locations in Apple Maps is easy. First, launch Maps on virtually any Apple device, including the iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Next, type in “COVID-19 test” or “coronavirus test” in the search field. You should see several COVID-19 testing locations in your area.
Don’t be too surprised if you don’t see any locations. I tested this feature out in a Southern California town with a population of almost 300,000. Not one testing location came up, even though I have seen them throughout the community.
Also, keep in mind, you can’t just show up for a test. Many testing locations require a physician’s referral. With a limited number of tests available, symptomatic individuals are the highest priority. Only a handful of testing locations cater to asymptomatic, low-risk individuals.
Should You Get Tested?
A COVID-19 test is looking for the live virus. This type of diagnostic test works best with symptomatic individuals or those who have come in contact with the infected.
If you think you’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered, a serum antibody test is required. This test is currently limited, and the science is still underway. The WHO reports that we don’t yet know what level of antibodies indicates immunity. It’s known that some COVID-19 patients get the disease multiple times.
SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus, and researchers learn new things every day. It’s always best to follow the news and keep up-to-date on advancements. For now, it’s best to follow social distancing guidelines and wear a protective mask when you can’t keep six feet away from others. If you’re feeling ill, call your primary care physician immediately. He or she can direct you to the next course of action.