The county’s Live Well mobile was in Southeast San Diego on Saturday performing free COVID-19 tests.
“It will soon be a familiar presence around the county,” said Nick Macchione, Director of the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.
The mobile testing site was at the Euclid Health Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They had 24 tests available and were administered through appointments filled on a first-come-first-served basis and with a doctor's referral.
“It’s at no cost to the people who are coming with appointments. We do go by the guidelines that are set by the CDC and the county,” said Sheila Ranker, a Public Health Nurse Supervisor at the testing site. “We also let them know when to expect the results which are in 24 to 48 hours.”
Health advocates have been calling for more testing in underserved communities like Southeast San Diego.
One of the first people in line for the free test was April Noble, a frontline worker at a medical office.
“Everyone deserves the same opportunities as everybody else, so if they have the testing in La Jolla and Escondido, they need to have the testing here in southeast San Diego,” Noble said.
The Euclid Health Center is located in zip code 92114, one of the areas with the highest number of cases (107) for COVID-19, according to the county.
This data is not a full representation of cases. There has been very limited testing so far. Therefore, the actual number of cases per zip code could vary greatly. Officials with the County Health and Human Services Agency say the number of people infected with COVID-19 in San Diego is around 10 times the reported total.
"When the coronavirus pandemic hit, it became alarming to me that it was hitting the minority community. Like the African American, and Hispanic community harder than other communities," said Dr. Rodney Hood, who pushed the county for the testing site. "This community needs to start getting tested. Because the access to testing wasn’t where it should be."
These county pop up testing sites will be conducting a nasal swab test and will be by appointments only. They can be scheduled by phone by calling 211. Further dates and locations are still being determined, the county said.
The county said people with or without symptoms, who are part of the following groups should also be tested:
- Healthcare workers
- People exposed to confirmed COVID-19 case
- People with underlying conditions
- Congregate living facility staff and residents
- Essential infrastructure occupations
- Additional vulnerable groups
- People with HIV/AIDS
- People in rural areas
- Native Americans
- Older adults
- People experiencing homelessness
- Racial/ethnic groups
The migrant community is considered a vulnerable population and when calling 211 should let a nurse know of their insurance status to receive an appointment and be connected with a community health care provider, the county said.
State Public Health officials will be opening COVID-19 testing locations in San Diego starting Tuesday, May 5. The initial locations will be at Grossmont College, the County's North Inland Live Well Center in Escondido, and in Chula Vista at the former Sears location at the Chula Vista Mall.
Testing is by appointment only. You can make appointments online at https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling (888) 634-1123.