Many of those experiencing symptoms similar to coronavirus (COVID-19) have been anxious to be tested as the nation struggled to make COVID-19 test kits broadly available.
COVID-19 symptoms are very similar to the flu. Those common symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, and congestion, while others may carry the virus without exhibiting any symptoms at all, making the virus more difficult to contain.
On Friday, San Bernardino reported four new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county’s total number of confirmed cases to nine. Riverside County had 28 confirmed cases as of Friday. Also, on Friday there was a total of 1,006 confirmed cases in the state and 19 Californians had succumbed to the illness.
In an ominous warning, San Bernardino County Health Officer Dr. Erin Gustafson declared, “We must assume and behave as if the virus is everywhere.”
In response, COVID-19 test sites remain rare in the inland region even as the virus continues to spread across both counties. The first test site was established in the Coachella Valley—by appointment only with a doctor’s referral—due to the number of cases reported in that region to date.
On Saturday and Sunday there was another COVID-19 test location in Riverside County. A Drive-thru test site was set up at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore; however, the testing—announced Thursday—was completed by appointment only via a doctor’s referral. Drive-up requests for testing could not be accommodated. Those tested at the Lake Elsinore location should receive their results in two to four days.
In the meantime, public health officials across the inland region continue to push for more COVID-19 testing in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Although like Riverside County, San Bernardino Health officials have yet to secure a testing date/site.
Health officials recommend if you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, call your personal physician for directions regarding what you should do. Your doctor will determine whether you should go directly to a hospital or schedule you for testing.
For those without healthcare coverage and as a result, do not have a personal physician, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed by Congress in recent weeks gives states the option to expand Medicaid coverage to uninsured individuals to provide coverage for COVID-19 diagnosis and testing with 100 percent federal financing. It ensures state Medicaid programs cover diagnosis and testing for COVID-19 with no cost sharing. Also, Governor Newsom has announced screening and testing fees will be waived for about 24 million Californians.
According to the California Department of Public Health, people who do not have insurance but believe they are experiencing symptoms should contact their local health department for information on how to get tested. In Riverside County call (951) 358-5000; in San Bernardino County call (800) 782-4264.
For COVID-19 information in Riverside County visit https://www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus; in San Bernardino County visit http://wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/. You can also visit the website of your local city authority.