Relief Telemed expands COVID-19 testing services to California school district

    Relief Telemed is expanding its COVID-19 testing services to a southern California school district, marking the local telemedicine startup’s first out-of-state venture.

    Starting today and over the next six weeks, the company’s software will be used to test some 25,000 students in Orange County’s Santa Ana Unified School District.

    The deal is significant because it “plants the seed” for Relief to expand its footprint outside the local marketplace, where it’s been operating out of the Louisiana Technology Park for the past year, says co-founder and CEO Vishal Vasanji.

    “We plan to explore other opportunities in southern California,” Vasanji tells Daily Report. “Our strategy is to get our foot in the door with COVID-19 testing, and then expand those partnerships to other health care services once we’re done with coronavirus testing, or in addition to it.”

    However, unlike its existing partnership with LSU, Relief will not physically set up operations on school campuses in California. Instead, the clients will use Relief’s technology and the tests will be sent to a lab in nearby Riverside, California, where the results will be analyzed and emailed to students.

    Although its geographic size is only 24 square miles, the Santa Ana Unified School District—which reopened all public and private schools—is the sixth-largest school district in California, serving approximately 58,000 students across 57 schools and boasting an annual operating budget of $483 million. 

    It’s among several new contracts Relief has under its belt. In late August, the company landed a deal with LSU to provide COVID-19 testing across four on-campus sites this fall. Vasanji says another deal has since been signed with LSU-Alexandria, with a few others—both local and outside the state—also in the works.