Lake County, CA (April 30, 2020) – Access to Coronavirus testing has been an ongoing struggle around the state, but especially challenging in Lake County due to inadequate sampling supplies and significant distances to the laboratories that process them. Our low number of confirmed cases in the county likely indicates a low incidence of the virus, but also reflects the low number of tests we have been able to obtain. As of today, about 550 tests have been performed on Lake County residents.
After extensive efforts by local officials and our State and Federal representatives, Lake County residents are now gaining greater access to testing. A steady supply of sampling materials has been secured. Various laboratories, both regional and commercial, now have the capacity to perform the tests. With adequate supplies available, local medical providers are able to expand their testing criteria, and test people who have mild symptoms or concerns about recent exposure. While the preference is always for people to receive testing and care through their own medical provider, we recognize this is not always possible.
Beginning next week, the County of Lake Health Services Department’s Public Health Division will provide a mobile sampling site. We will see up to 50 preregistered people per day, for testing in a drive-thru setting. Sites will be open from 11am-1pm, and results should be back within 48-72 hours. If more than 50 people need the test on a given day, we will try to prioritize the most vulnerable.
Testing for the week of May 4th with occur in the Lakeport area, and subsequent locations around the county will be announced as they are arranged. Please call the MHOAC line at 707-263-8174 to be transferred to a staff member for screening and registration. Additional information and forms will be posted on the Public Health Website at http://health.co.lake.ca.us/Coronavirus/Testing.
The value of this viral PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test lies in determining if someone has the virus right now. The antibody test, which is in the news a lot lately, is a different test that looks for previous infection. At least for the time being, no antibody testing will available at Lake County’s mobile sites. These logistics may all change in the near future, in this ever-evolving climate we are in.
Getting our own test site up and running is highly significant, given the Governor’s criteria for lifting Shelter-in-Place restrictions. Until counties get adequate testing and contact tracing, the governor will be reluctant to loosen things up for more social and business activity. Therefore, this new service will be a major step forward for Lake County in meeting these benchmarks.
This is a new process, and we appreciate the community’s patience as we “work out the kinks.”
We look forward to testing the folks that need it.
For Lake County-specific Coronavirus information, please continue to visit the Lake County Health Services Department’s website, http://health.co.lake.ca.us. The Lake County Coronavirus Response Hub has additional valuable resources: https://lake-co-ca-coronavirus-response-lakecoca.hub.arcgis.com/
If you still have questions, send an email request: [email protected].
You can also call during business hours: 707-263-8174
Gary Pace MD, MPH
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