Testing for COVID-19 could be a little more difficult in the coming months. Community testing sites in Grover Beach, Paso Robles, and San Luis Obispo closed on January 20 along with many others across California following the loss of State funding. These no-cost community-testing sites were funded by the California Department of Public Health with operational support provided by local agencies.
“Testing remains an important part of preventing the spread of COVID-19,” said County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein, in a news release. “While it is disappointing that our community sites are closing, I encourage residents to use rapid home tests or visit one of the other testing providers in our community. For those who have relied on these sites and need support lining up another option, I encourage you to contact our team — we are here to help you through this transition.”
Free rapid home tests are available from the U.S. government. Health insurance plans (including employer plans, Medi-Cal and plans through Covered California) are required to cover or reimburse the cost of eight rapid tests per month for each person on your plan. Many health care providers in SLO County now also offer COVID-19 testing.
County residents who need support accessing rapid tests or PCR testing should contact the Public Health Department online or at 805-781-5500. For those who test positive with a home test and do not have health insurance or can’t reach their regular healthcare provider within 24 hours, free COVID-19 telehealth appointments are available online or by phone, with treatment prescribed at no cost if indicated.
Treatment is important to lessen the impacts of infections for not only the infected person but also for their contacts.
Community testing sites have conducted more than 250,000 tests in SLO County since opening in early 2020, with some sites conducting more than 750 tests per day during surges. As home testing has become more widely available, usage has decreased to an average of about 30 tests per day.
“I am grateful to the California Department of Public Health for providing this service for more than two years, and especially grateful to the testing staff who have put themselves on the front lines to help our community stay safe through COVID-19 surges,” said Dr. Borenstein. “Your work has been heroic, and you have our community’s sincere thanks.”
For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, go to slopublichealth.org/COVID19. Public health phone support is available at (805) 781-5500 Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.