Drive-thru covid testing

COVID-19 drive-thru testing site to open on campus

Partnership with city provides free self-administered tests

December 15, 2020
Author: Imran Ghori
December 15, 2020

UC Riverside employees and students will be able to get tested for the coronavirus at no cost to them at a drive-thru site on a campus lot starting Thursday, Dec. 17.

The testing program is a result of a partnership between UCR and the city of Riverside, which has opened two other drive-thru locations, a downtown kiosk, and a mobile testing van that will serve multiple locations in the city. 

The city is working with Curative, which provides a Food and Drug Administration-authorized polymerase chain reaction test. The self-administered oral swab test is simple, noninvasive, and takes about a minute to perform.  

The drive-thru site will be at Parking Lot 26, at 3443 Canyon Crest Dr., and operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., including during the winter break. 

Appointments can now be made online. Pre-registration at is highly advised. This Thursday and Friday are already fully booked.

Employees who work regularly on campus are encouraged to get tested though it is available to all members of the campus community as well as area residents. The addition of a testing site in the northeast section of the community provides access to a rising underserved minority population.

Employees can get tested up to twice a week at no charge. Results are available via text or email within 72 hours.

The drive-thru site testing is separate from UCR’s diagnostic laboratory that opened in September at the Multidisciplinary Research Building and has been working with Student Health Services to test students living on campus twice a week. The lab is processing about 560 tests a day.

UCR’s Testing Committee, School of Medicine, and the Office of Emergency Management worked with the city to establish the drive-thru site. Eventually, it may expand to seven days a week.

Signage and cones on and near the campus will direct people to the testing site.

Here are some FAQ about the program:

How is the test administered?

Curative's oral-fluid swab testing involves having a person first cough into their elbow or mask, which releases virus from the upper and lower respiratory tract. The person then swabs the teeth, inside the cheeks, and the roof of the mouth before sealing the test within a secure container and dropping it in a collection bin.

The entire Curative test is done without coming into close contact with others, therefore eliminating the need for personal protective equipment changes. Participants must not eat, drink, chew gum, smoke, or brush their teeth a half-hour before taking the test. Those who do will not be permitted to take a test.

Can I show up to a testing site and see if they have availability?

Testing is done by appointment; however, same-day testing may be available between 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Having an appointment helps reduce wait times and helps ensure enough staff and testing supplies are available.

How far in advance can I schedule a test appointment?

You can schedule an appointment up to five days ahead of time. For same-day testing, complete the registration questions for same-day testing. You can go between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. (even if appointments are not available). 

Why do you ask for insurance information? Does it cost anything to get a test at a city of Riverside-operated site?

Testing is free to the individual, regardless of insurance or immigration status. When you give your insurance information, it allows the laboratory to bill your insurance to get reimbursed for the cost of the test. However, any individual may decline to provide insurance information, and they will still be tested for free.

Please review your medical plan’s COVID-19 information site for additional details:

•    Kaiser Permanente - (Link
•    Anthem Blue Cross - (Link)
•    Health Net - (Link)

The State of California provides additional resources regarding COVID-19 testing costs:

•    California Department of Public Health — Updated COVID-19 Testing Guidance (Link)
•    Department of Managed Health Care – All Plan Letter (Link)
•    Additional information and tutorial videos can be seen at Appointments can be made at