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San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties to expand COVID-19 Testing

Posted at 11:54 PM, Apr 30, 2020

Getting tested for the coronavirus will be more accessible for people living in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.

"Early next week we actually do plan on making available to the community that we will be working with a state contractor to stand up on-going testing," said Dr. Penny Borenstein, San Luis Obispo County Health Officer.

The state contractor, OptumServe will be bringing tests free of charge to the community and at not no cost to the county, besides security fees and the cost to secure a location.

While each site will be capable of conducting about 130 COVID-19 screenings a day, both counties have listed requirements to be eligible for a test.

"Folks who are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, they would be eligible to take tests," said Nick Clay, Santa Barbara County Emergency Services Director. "Folks who are asymptomatic health care workers, first responders, or other key essential workers, those who work in congregate settings, or live in congregate settings."

In San Luis Obispo County, those over the age of 65 or anyone with chronic medical conditions, as well as employees of congregate care living facilities will also be eligible for a test.

The tests will be by appointment only and while they are on a first come, first serve basis, counties hope to prioritize those who are in the most need.

"We are still asking of the community that we prioritize people with symptoms -- as I have said throughout this or through recent weeks -- even mild symptoms," said Dr. Borenstein.

These new screening locations will give local counties another tool as they work to control the coronavirus, while also providing the community with a quick and easy way to get tested.

"It's about a five to ten minute process from the point you walk through the front door, confirm your registration, confirm your appointment and who you are and then go get the procedure done," said Clay.

In San Luis Obispo County, the Paso Robles Veterans Hall and Ramona Garden community center in Grover Beach will be the testing sites.

In Santa Barbara County, the first site will be in Santa Maria for two weeks, followed by Lompoc and Santa Barbara for two weeks each.

The two sites in San Luis Obispo County will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with registration for appointments beginning this Saturday on the county's website.

Santa Barbara County will have the site open Tuesday through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and expects on having it available for at least 12 weeks.