Riverside County creates “mobile testing team” to serve targeted communities

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Doctor with stethoscope
Valley News - Health

RIVERSIDE COUNTY – As Riverside County continues to expand its coronavirus testing capabilities, health officials have formed a “mobile testing team” to serve targeted populations or communities.

The team, made up of nurses, emergency medical technicians and paramedics, set up testing locations for one or two days as needed then quickly move on to another site, Kim Saruwatari, director of Riverside County Public Health, said, as opposed to current testing sites which have been set up with the idea they would be based there for weeks or months. 

“The mobile testing team gives us the flexibility to complete testing at different locations where there is a targeted need, such as hard-to-reach communities,” Saruwatari said. “Once the need is served, then we can quickly move them to the next location.”

Recently, the mobile team set up a one-day testing site at the Ben Clark Training Center, Idyllwild Library in the San Jacinto Mountains and screened about 162 residents. Other future locations include the Morongo Casino, Edgemont Women’s Club in Moreno Valley and the foothill community of Anza south of Hemet.

“According to data, the pandemic is impacting vulnerable communities and people of color the most. Whether that be seniors in skilled nursing facilities, agricultural workers in the fields, or the homeless in encampments, we need to do all we can to meet the moment and suppress the pandemic,” Chair V. Manuel Perez, 4th District supervisor, said. “Expanding sites and deploying mobile testing is a responsible and creative way to flatten the curve.”

The creation of the mobile team was one of several changes to the county’s testing program. Others include the closing of the Blythe testing site and the Corona testing site; the adding of a test site at Bagdouma Park Community Center, 51-251 Douma St., in Coachella – for appointments, call 888-634-1123 or visit https://lhi.care/covidtesting – and the adding of a site at Moreno Valley Senior Center, 25075 Fir Ave., in Moreno Valley – for appointments, call 888-634-1123 or visit https://lhi.care/covidtesting

Testing at the county-run sites is open to anyone, whether they have symptoms or not, and there are no out-of-pocket costs to individuals. Participants will be asked to provide information about their health insurance, but they will not be charged any share of costs or copay and will be allowed to get tested even if they do not provide the insurance information. Participants must have an appointment to get tested.

So far, more than 160,000 Riverside County residents have been tested at the 16 total community test sites, along with screenings at clinics, hospitals, private labs and other locations.

For a complete list of all testing locations and instructions on how to make an appointment, visit www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus/testing.

Submitted by Riverside County Public Health.