By Raiza Giorgi
Residents of Santa Barbara County can make appointments to be screened for testing at COVID-19 Community Based Testing Sites starting May 1. These testing sites will be operated by OptumServe, a contractor of the State of California, said Santa Barbara County Public Health officials.
The first site will open Tuesday, May 5, at Santa Maria Fairpark in Santa Maria. The two other sites will be in Lompoc and Santa Barbara starting the week after.
All are eligible to screened, however, individuals who meet the following conditions will be prioritized:
• Healthcare 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
• Any persons exhibiting one or more symptoms of COVID-19
“There will be no out-of-pocket expense or co-pay, and insurers of those who have coverage will be billed,”said Dr. Henning Ansorg.
Screening and appointments can be made between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. by visiting https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling 888-634-1123 for those with no internet access.
The number of positive cases rose by 10 from yesterday, which now totals 506 cases. Of those cases 389 have fully recovered, 60 are recovering at home and 36 are in the hospital with 14 of those in the ICU, Ansorg stated.
Mathematically of the 446,499 residents in Santa Barbara County, that is a .001 percent of the population having tested positive for the virus.
There have been eight deaths related to COVID-19.
“I was relieved to hear we can still use the beaches, parks and trails for mental health and outdoor activities and maintaining overall health during these stressful times,” Ansorg added.
He said with the testing sites the county is rapidly reaching testing and contact tracing capacity for the next reopening transition.
“There is also no sufficient evidence wearing a face mask will protect you. The best tools we have are maintaining social distancing and washing our hands,” Ansorg added.
Dr. Paige Batson, Deputy Director of Public Health, was also at the press briefing to say that they are working to train more than 100 people for contact investigating process. They are seeking those who are bilingual to help with interviewing.