Testing centers shutting down

The County of San Diego announced that the state is closing six state COVID-19 testing and treatment sites due to declining demand, but the County ensures there will still be plenty of option for San Diegans to get testing and treatment.

Last week, state-supported testing and treatment sites were closed in Escondido and National City. The El Cajon site is slated for closure this week, and the four remaining local sites will shut down by Feb. 25.

County of San Diego Health and Human Services Chief Nursing Officer Denise Foster said the state has been supporting test sites in the county during the pandemic, then transitioning them to test/treat sites so people who tested positive could be screened and if eligible, get treatment, such as PAXLOVID onsite.

“Based on low utilization at a few of the sites the state has been monitoring closely and determined to close,” she said. “Looking at the pandemic response winding down the emergency orders is looking at the end of February to close all these sites. That has been because demand has been very low. The state has been very responsive when demand was high by adding additional capacity.”

Foster said there are still four sites available supported through the state in and contracted sites that the County supports available. Testing/ treatment sites are still open in Chula Vista, Linda Vista, Oceanside, Lemon Grove, San Marcos, and Escondido.

“We still have a lot of capacity available for people who need to get tested without cost,” she said. “The other piece that is important is that the federal government is offering the free antigen tests again that come through the postal service. If people want antigen tests and they do not want to go through the mail they can go to one of our public health centers, which we have six of. And many of our public libraries have them.”

“Our public health centers do offer the COVID-19 vaccines for all eligible ages,” she continued.

Foster said the County is focused on maintaining access to testing, vaccinations for those areas which have been hardest hit during the pandemic that tend to have health inequities.

“We want all San Diegans to know that there are lots of options to get tests, be tested, get treatment, and get vaccinated, no matter where you are in the county,” said County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H. in a Jan. 12 press release. “If you feel symptoms and want to get tested for COVID-19 and find treatment, if you are positive, or if you just want to have COVID-19 home tests available as a precaution, access is available and you have options.”

Households can order one pack of four free test through the U.S. Postal Service at covid.gov/tests.

For dates and hours for open sites near you, visit bit.ly/3iL3HMy.

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