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Imperial County Increases COVID-19 Testing with New Community Testing Site

-Editorial

Following Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement to add more than 80 community testing sites across the state focused on underserved communities, Imperial County will launch a testing site in Imperial. The new testing site will open ‪on Tuesday, May 5th, and is scheduled to be available for the next two months. This new site is one of 80 testing sites powered through a partnership with OptumServe, the federal government health services business of Optum, a leading health services innovation company.

The testing site will be located at the Plaza Building at the Imperial Valley Expo in Imperial.  Hours will be ‪Monday through Friday from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm and closed ‪from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm.  Testing will be available by appointment only and can be scheduled online and by phone.   To make an appointment online visit https//lhi.care/covidtesting or contact ‪888-634-1123 starting May 2nd.  Anyone who falls within the priority areas listed in this news release is eligible to receive a test. The testing will be available for three priority areas with the plan to include additional groups in phases.  OptumServe will bill the patient’s medical insurance for the test.  Uninsured individuals may use the testing site and the cost will be covered by the state.

“This testing site will help Imperial County dramatically increase testing availability for individuals who have had limited access to COVID-19 tests up until now,” said Janette Angulo, Director for the Imperial County Public Health Department. “We’re thrilled to partner with the state and OptumServe to help ensure our community is healthy, while also helping meet California’s testing goals.”

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.

“We are excited to see this increased testing capability come to fruition in Imperial County,” stated Luis Plancarte, Chairman of the Imperial County Board of Supervisors, District 2.  “The effort to increase COVID-19 testing capacity is part of the plan for economic recovery and local officials have worked diligently over the past few days to bring these necessary testing resources to our area.”

OptumServe has extensive expertise in rapidly deploying and setting up health care services and has worked closely with the 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.”

“Thanks to Imperial County and to OptumServe for the collaboration to make these testing sites possible,” said Charity Dean, M.D., Assistant Director of the California Department of Public Health. “We’re working together as part of the state’s Testing Task Force to ensure regions with the greatest need have access to tests, and these sites are going to be a major component in reaching our testing goals.”

Priority areas for community testing:

Priority 1:

* Hospitalized patients

* Symptomatic healthcare workers

* Persons identified for testing by public health contact investigations and disease control activities in high-risk settings, including both residents and staff (E.g., congregate living facilities, correctional facilities)

Priority 2:

* Screening of asymptomatic residents of congregate living facilities prior to admission or re-admission to congregate living facility (E.g., a hospitalized patient will be screened for COVID-19 prior to discharge to a congregate living facility)

* Screening of asymptomatic healthcare workers (E.g., skilled nursing facility workers, hospital workers)

* Symptomatic persons in essential health and public safety occupations (E.g., first responders, law enforcement, congregate living facility workers)

* Symptomatic persons >65 years of age or with chronic medical conditions

Priority 3:

  • Symptomatic persons in essential infrastructure occupations (E.g., utility workers, food supply workers, other public employees)

 

 

 

 

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