The Santa Barbara Public Health Department has announced that starting today, May 1, county residents can make appointments to be “screened, and subsequently tested at COVID-19 Community Based Testing Sites.” The program is part of a larger effort to dramatically expand testing throughout California, one of the six criteria Governor Newsom listed in his requirements for moving to re-open the state.
The first such site in Santa Barbara County will be open on May 5, at the Santa Maria Fairpark at 937 Thornburg Street in Santa Maria. The release states that locations will be opening in Santa Barbara and Lompoc later that week, and will be operating five days a week, with testing by appointment only. Details on timing in the release are somewhat vague, stating only that “days and times will be adjusted based on community need.”
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The release emphasizes that the tests are to detect the presence of COVID-19 in a person and are not antibody tests to discover if a person has ever been infected. As far as payments go, the release states, “There will be no out-of-pocket expense or co-pay, and insurers of those who have coverage will be billed.”
While everyone is eligible for screening, the release states that the following groups will be prioritized:
• Health-care workers and first responders
• Persons 65 years and older or any age with chronic medical conditions
• Residents or employees of congregate care living facilities
• Persons in essential occupations which include utilities, grocery, food supply, and public employees
• Any persons exhibiting one or more symptoms of COVID-19
Screening and appointments can be made 7 a.m.-5 p.m. by visiting https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling (888) 634-1123.
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