To assist in bringing at-home testing kits for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, to homes of Seattle-area residents, Amazon Care is reportedly in discussions with local health groups, according to a CNBC report.
The talks have been occurring for over a week, according to unnamed sources.
Amazon Care rolled out last fall as an experimental effort to provide employees and dependents in the area of Seattle with high-quality health care. It comes with a website as well as an app for staff to ask questions. However, an option also exists to set a time for a nurse visit in the event follow-up care is needed.
Amazon has also brought on doctors, as well as public health experts, to work on the effort, with the inclusion of clinical operations leader Dr. Kristi Henderson and pulmonologist Dr. Vin Gupta. Seattle, for its part, has turned into one of the regions in the country that has been most affected by the coronavirus.
In the Seattle area, schools have been shuttered for nearly a week. In addition, King County is now registering many new cases daily. And the rise in testing is partly responsible for the large case increase, per health officials. As it stands, Amazon told employees in Seattle to telecommute from their residences after a staff member had a positive test result for the virus.
And, in separate news, Amazon announced it is making a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to provide cash grants to Seattle small businesses affected by the coronavirus, per reports on March 10. The fund is for small businesses that have a physical presence near the Regrade and South Lake Union office buildings that have less than 50 employees or under $7 million in revenue on an annual basis.
The applications will be under consideration over the second part of this month, and funds will be sent next month. Businesses will be asked to tell how much revenue they foresee losing in March and to support that data in some manner.