San Bernardino County held a pilot COVID-19 testing event on Friday, March 27 at the National Orange Show.
The testing pilot was by appointment only and though initially scheduled to run from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. the event ran a little longer because there were enough kits left over to test family members of those with appointments who were also displaying symptoms of the illness.
County officials acknowledge the demand for testing—like elsewhere in the nation—is higher than local officials’ current ability to accommodate, also ensuring the county plans to expand testing as soon as more supplies are made available. The eventual goal is to expand COVID-19 testing county-wide so that it will be accessible to all of the county’s nearly two million residents.
During the county’s first press conference related to COVID-19 last Wednesday, San Bernardino County Director of Public Health Trudy Raymundo took a moment to acknowledge the county’s first death reported a day earlier. “I have to say that, that death came far too soon knowing that we only had our first confirmed case just over a week ago,” she lamented. Sadly, a second COVID-19 death in the county was reported later Wednesday afternoon.
COVID-19 testing in the county—though slow—has increased slowly since the first San Bernardino case was report on March 15. Raymundo justified the slow process by noting the low number of tests (460 as of Wednesday) was largely due to the county confirming its first positive case later than other counties in the region. Both Los Angeles and Orange Counties reported their first cases back in January and Riverside’s first case was noted a week earlier than San Bernardino.
San Bernardino’s drive through test site will be by appointment only and individuals are being prioritized based on those with symptoms, underlying conditions including diabetes, heart, disease, asthma, etc. and those over the age of 65.
As the virus continues to threaten, Raymundo acknowledged, “We know that we do not understand the extent or the magnitude of this disease right now in our county simply because our testing capacity has been limited.”
Visit the county’s coronavirus website at http://www.wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/coronavirus to learn when the county will schedule more testing dates and locations. Individuals are also welcomed to contact the coronavirus public information line from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at (909) 387-3911, or email the county at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, and until further notice, San Bernardino officials encourage residents to, “[S]tay home as much as possible while only participating in essential activities such as critical work functions and shopping for necessities.”
Testing in Riverside County moved from Indian Wells to the Riverside County Fair Grounds in Indio on Tuesday. The center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (or until supplies for testing are exhausted) Tuesday through Saturday. If you have symptoms you can schedule an appointment by calling (800) 945-6171.
Header Photo: Photo Drive thru testing (Photo courtesy NPR)