COVID-19 Testing & Screening for Public Health Entities

Color partners with large municipalities and public health entities to expand COVID-19 testing access and provide the infrastructure for population health.

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Color powers state-wide COVID-19 testing in California

Color provides the software infrastructure to power up to 150,000 COVID-19 tests per day in collaboration with PerkinElmer and the State of California.

Color’s software enables individuals to show up at a collection site, provide a sample quickly, and receive results within two days. Individuals are not required to create a new account nor submit an email address to access testing, supporting access for traditionally underserved populations.

Color can integrate with public health testing infrastructure anywhere, from large scale laboratories to community-led testing sites such as churches, schools, and local government facilities.

To learn more about Color’s work with PerkinElmer and the State of California, click here.

CA Governor Gavin Newsom and Color CEO Othman Laraki
review Color’s software platform.

Scalable Infrastructure

Public health entities face unique challenges in deploying COVID-19 testing, such as dispersed geographic communities, language requirements, multiple congregate settings, and high-risk populations.

Color provides a scalable, flexible infrastructure for fast deployment of large population testing and screening. We operate a high-throughput, CLIA-certified testing lab, process tens of thousands of samples per day, support both monitored and self-collection testing, and provide an intuitive digital solution for program reporting.

Integrated Program

We partner closely with public entities to provide an integrated solution based on specific community needs. Color’s program supports different structures, from pop-up test sites, mobile testing for rural or hard-to-reach areas, to onsite or scheduled test registration. Our responsive testing teams provide full support, including program management, logistics, best practices, and effective communication strategies.

Experience & Expertise

Color works with hundreds of companies and large public entities including the City of San Francisco, where we process over 2,000 tests per day with an average 24-hour turnaround.1   We partner with the scientific community including leading epidemiologists such as Carl Bergstrom and Ryan McGee to provide resources like our outbreak modeling tool and return to onsite protocol.

Read the latest on Color’s COVID-19 response in the media here ›

Case Study: Population-Scale Testing for the City of San Francisco

> 300,000

tests processed


of results in under 48 hours

In April 2020, the City of San Francisco partnered with Color to create a flexible testing model that allows the City to identify employees, essential workers and residents exposed to COVID-19, and route them immediately to testing.

“To achieve our goal of universal access, we have continually expanded testing, based on where the need is greatest and the availability of resources,” said Dr. Colfax, Director of Health in San Francisco. To that end, the City and Color have focused on flexibility to meet the changing testing needs of local workers and residents. This has included pop-up sites in hard-hit neighborhoods and mobile testing for skilled nursing facilities around the city.

Color’s seamless reporting structure provides results to individuals, primary care physicians, the California Department of Health and the San Francisco Department of Public Health to enable contact tracing and mitigate outbreaks.

Color’s COVID-19 Testing FAQs


Color uses nucleic acid amplification techniques (LAMP and RT-PCR) to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA. Learn more about our testing and assay


 We support dry and wet anterior nares swabs (not deep swabbing, also known as AN), and nasopharyngeal swabs (deep swabbing, also known as NP). Our dry nasal swabs are intended for COVID-19 unmonitored tests, and AN and nasopharyngeal swabs must be administered or monitored by a clinician.

Getting tested takes about 10–15 minutes. Results typically take 24-72 hours, and in practice our average turnaround is 24 hours, though the actual time may vary. Turnaround time is the usual number of hours from the time a specimen is accessioned at the laboratory to when the result is released to the participant and ordering provider.

Depending on the type of program you have, Color will provide a unique URL or program code that allows participants to schedule a 30 minute timeframe for their 10-15 minute appointment. They’ll be asked for information such as phone number, email address, home address, and primary healthcare provider information if they wish to have results sent to their clinician. Color also supports walk-up testing.


First, participants confirm some basic information to check-in or sign up at the Color testing site. Then they proceed to sample collection where they provide consent for the test, and provide the sample via nasal swab. They’ll also receive a handout with a sample-specific barcode for results release.


When test results become available, participants receive an email and text message notification that links them to a HIPAA-compliant portal to view their results.

For university, employer, and public entity programs, we provide HR teams with a program dashboard to effectively monitor participant health. The participant and ordering physician receive results directly through Color’s participant and provider portals. Participants provide consent for testing and HIPAA authorization for results sharing as part of our scheduling system before being tested.


Safeguarding the privacy and security of personal health information is among our most important responsibilities. You may view our COVID terms of serviceNotice of Privacy Practices, COVID HIPAA authorization, and COVID informed consent to learn more.

Contact us

To learn more about our community testing programs, fill out this form and a member of our team will get back to you.
If you have questions about scheduling an appointment, a test, or a test result, email our team at

Testing frequency, participants, etc.

Thanks for your submission.

Our team will be in touch soon. In the meantime, here are some helpful links:

1. Color Genomics, Inc. Turnaround time by Collection Batch (July 2020). Burlingame, CA: Color Data Science.