Paso Robles' vacant train station property could become COVID-19 testing site

paso robles train station.JPG
Posted at 5:14 PM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 22:39:26-04

San Luis Obispo County is adding new COVID-19 testing sites due to a surge in coronavirus cases nationwide.

On August 1, San Luis Obispo County had a record-breaking day for COVID-19 testing with more than 340 people swabbed for the virus.

During Tuesday's Paso Robles City Council meeting, it'll be decided if the vacant train station property at 800 Pine Street will be leased to the county for a new testing site.

"Last week, the County of San Luis Obispo submitted a lease proposal for our train station which the city owns and it's been vacant for a little less than a year," said Paul Sloan, City of Paso Robles Economic Development Director.

The old lease ended in September of last year due to COVID-19 hardships.

SLO County Public Health says it's in the process of trying to move its Centennial Park testing location, which is also in the City of Paso Robles, due to a pre-arranged agreement.

The department said the train station would be a better location and will allow for expanded hours for testing.

The county currently runs two testing sites with the second one at the Veterans Hall in San Luis Obispo.

A third site is planned for South County after the move in Paso Robles.

If the county moves to this new location in Paso Robles, it could be a win for the city, generating revenue.

"The rent is about $3,800, a little over $3,800 a month. It's a little bigger than 2,500 square feet and lots of parking," Sloan explained.

With the rising demand, along the coast, Morro Bay Drug and Gift just started providing COVID-19 testing a couple of weeks ago.

"We are seeing a lot of people are coming. It's a walk-in basis and after the spike in the cases, people are becoming more aware of the testing," said Dr. Sumanta Paul, pharmacist at Morro Bay Drug and Gift.
At this time, they're doing 10 to 15 tests per day.

They offer rapid antigen testing that provides results in about ten minutes for a cost of $75.

Other testing locations include urgent care centers and chain pharmacies all across the region.

The lease on the Paso Robles train station building would be for six months, generating more than $23,000 in revenue for the city.