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NOVATO, Calif. – The COVID-19 test, swirling a swab high in the nostril, is not a pleasant sensation, but worth it, said dozens of caregivers who streamed in for testing Friday in Novato. “Oh my God,” gasped Molly Bray, as a public health nurse finished probing her nose.    

“I would do it no matter how painful, but it was a little uncomfortable,” Bray said afterward. “I take care of an elderly woman so it would be good to know I don’t have it.” 

San Francisco is among several jurisdictions planning to test all staff and patients at every nursing home. Almost half of California’s COVID-19 deaths are in assisted living environments. 

That’s why Peter Rubens, founder of At Home Caregivers, has been pushing to get his employees tested. 

“I think the situation is fraught with a lot of fear, everybody’s concerned, nobody wants to get anybody sick,” said Rubens, greeting workers who came to be tested. 

He has seen no illness yet, among workers or clients. But rising case numbers prove that locking the doors at assisted living centers does not keep the virus out. His employees move among private homes and congregate settings. 

“It’s just so devastating to see infection rage through an assisted living facility,” said Rubens. 

Sixty of his caregivers, about half his staff, signed up to be screened in the garage of his Novato headquarters…” 

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