Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health Inc. to provide health screening for tribal members

health screening
Valley News/Courtesy photo

Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health Inc. Anza Outreach Office is prepared to perform novel coronavirus tests on local tribal members should the need arise. Anza Valley residents may notice tents erected in front of the clinic located on Contreras Road.

“We only treat tribal members in our consortium and their spouses along with Native American people who live in our two-county area,” Jess Montoya, CEO of the nonprofit Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health Inc., which manages tribal clinics in the area, said. “We set up tents to screen for flu and strep and if those tests are negative and the patient meets CDC guidelines, we will test for COVID-19. We set these tents up at our seven sites.”

We have not had a positive test to date in our whole system, including the Anza area, he said.

The nonprofit’s clinics are ready to respond to the crisis.

Only those who have symptoms such as cough, fever or shortness of breath, who has had exposure to anyone with COVID-19 potential, time spent at any airport in the U.S. or travel outside of the United States will be tested. So far none of the patients who have been screened have met the clinics’ criteria for being tested.

Patients are advised not to enter the clinics, but call their COVID-19 hotline at (951) 849-5631.

The Riverside-San Bernardino Indian Health Organization advocates on behalf of American Indians through the delivery of quality health care services, which honor spiritual and cultural values.

Tribal health clinics in Riverside and San Bernardino counties have more than 50 tests on hand and more on the way.

Test samples would be sent to a Quest Diagnostics lab in California for testing, with results expected in three to five days. Those patients completing a test would be asked to self-quarantine until results were received.

Members of federally recognized tribes and their families are entitled to free health care services at the tribal clinics.

The nonprofit manages seven clinics on or near the reservations of the Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Cahuilla Band of Indians and Ramona Band of Cahuilla Indians and Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. Tribal members can visit any of the clinics in the consortium.

For more information about COVID-19 and its local impact, visit the Riverside County Public Health Department at https://www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus.

To reach the Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health Inc. Anza Outreach Office, call (951) 763-4835 or (877) 781-0555 or email info@rsbcihi.org. Visit them on the web at https://www.rsbcihi.org.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.