As part of a statewide effort to expand testing capabilities for COVID-19 in rural areas, Tulare County has been selected by the California Coronavirus Testing Task Force to receive two new COVID-19 community testing collection sites. The new sites are being located in Dinuba and Porterville at their respective Memorial Buildings, with an expected opening date of May 4, allowing for increased testing capacity and improved contact tracing and tracking in the county.
“The State has identified expansion of testing as a key indicator in the road map to recovery from this pandemic,” notes Karen Elliott, Director of Public Health for Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency. “Tulare County is grateful for the opportunity to provide increased testing to the community to further meet this priority metric.”
Tulare County’s new community testing sites are powered through a partnership with OptumServe, a leading health services and innovation company with extensive expertise in rapidly deploying and setting up health care services and worked closely with the United States military under the leadership of former Army Surgeon General and retired Lieutenant General Patty Horoho, RN.
“OptumServe is honored to assist California in expanding COVID-19 testing for residents,” said Patty Horoho, CEO of OptumServe. “We are bringing our full commitment and capabilities to serve Californians, including extensive experience conducting large community health events.”
To determine where to locate new testing sites, the state looked at both rural and urban areas where Californians would have to travel between 30 and 60 minutes to reach an existing testing site or hospital. That information was then evaluated based on underserved populations to address known disparities, and median income so residents have access to testing regardless of socioeconomic status.
Each new testing location has the target of conducting 132 tests per day for community members, including those working in essential sectors or are at a high risk of contracting COVID-19. California public health officials have partially lifted restrictions on who should receive tests for the coronavirus, recommending for the first time that asymptomatic people living or working in high-risk settings such as nursing homes, prisons and even some households should now be considered a priority for testing.
The State of California is paying the cost for setting up the collection sites. Testing is by appointment only and tests for individuals who have medical insurance will be billed to the patient’s medical insurance by OptumServe. Uninsured individuals may also use the testing site, by appointment only, and their tests are covered by the state.
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