Virginia Beach teen helps create COVID-19 testing site locator

Posted at 5:10 AM, Apr 30, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A local high school student has helped created a website that finds COVID-19 testing sites near you.

"For me, personally," Yoland Gao, the website's creator and high school student, said, "I think it is great to have an impact in the community and being able to help people find these COVID test sites."

Gao, a student at Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, says that he has been working with other students at the Research Science Institute, a summer program at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, where people can find the nearest COVID-19 test site.

"We had noticed a lot of websites in the early stages of the outbreak didn’t have complete data from where you can get a test," Gao told News 3. "Especially in some states data was nonexistent."

The website does not only find locations in Hampton Roads, but throughout the United States. He said there are roughly two dozen students helping him on the website with different tasks such as combing databases and adding testing sites to marketing and even translating the website into five different languages.

Gao added that he and his team continuously update the website to make sure information presented us accurate and up-to-date.

Related: Virginia Beach teen 3D prints face shields for local hospitals

"On the bottom of the website, there are two links, two forms were you can tell us about sites that have opened up or sites that have closed down or changed information," Gao said. "We encourage people to submit that information to us and we will get it updated."

The website does advise you to contact your primary healthcare provider before being tested for COVID-19. It also encourages users to check with the locations first before going to see if tests are still offered.

The site is located at this link.

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