Palomar Health CEO and Diane Hansen called a new COVID-19 Resource Clinic debuting in Escondido this week a "triple threat."
That's because San Diego County's newest vaccination site at the site of the former Palomar Medical Center in downtown Escondido will offer drive-thru testing, vaccination, and monoclonal therapy, which is an antibody therapy that could help keep people with symptoms out of the hospital and allow them to recover at home.
“Thank goodness we’ve seen a decline [in hospitalizations],” said Hansen. “We’re down around 125 [positive patients] as of today but still significant numbers.”
The site -- located at 555 East Valley Parkway -- is expected to continue to put a dent in local coronavirus numbers, especially in Escondido, which has seen some of the highest positivity rates for the virus of the North County cities.
It officially opened to the public on Tuesday morning. It'll be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. While the site is primarily drive-thru, those who have appointments can also walk up to the site and get their vaccine that way.
The goal at the Escondido site is to vaccinate at least 1,000 people each day.
“It will give them the strength and immunity to allow them to fight this virus,” said Hansen. “We are the only site in San Diego County and, I believe, the only site in the nation, to have this ‘triple threat.’”
“Driv-thru is great,” said Escondido resident Marilyn Dant.
Dant said not everyone has the ability to stand and walk through a line for those services. She’s also happy Escondido is getting its own vaccination site.
“I think that inland North County sometimes gets shorted on things,” she said.
“They don’t have to go outside of their neighborhood,” agreed Hansen.
Every COVID-19 test and vaccination is by appointment only. In order to make an appointment at the site, you must meet the county's current vaccination eligibility (based on the phase/tier system). Those appointments can be made online, here.
COVID-19 testing will be available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons.
The monoclonal therapy is also by appointment and must be ordered by a person’s physician; it'll be available seven days a week. Each service is also at a different location with a different entrance on the hospital campus site.
“I’m very hopeful about the future,” Hansen added.