El Dorado to provide COVID-19 testing for any resident

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — El Dorado County is offering COVID-19 testing by appointment for any resident that wants to be tested.

County officials announced Sunday evening that testing will happen in two locations, in South Lake Tahoe and Shingle Springs.

The openings follow Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement to add more than 80 community COVID-19 testing sites across the state focused on underserved communities.

“These are not antibody tests to detect whether someone has any level of immunity against COVID-19,” said El Dorado County Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams in a press release. “These are nasal or nasopharyngeal swab tests that will determine if someone has the presence of the COVID-19 virus at the time of testing. We’re making the test available to anyone in the County who wishes to have it, free of charge, even if they are asymptomatic, although people with symptoms are the highest priority.”

Each site will provide testing of up to 132 tests a day for anyone who has made an appointment. Sites are scheduled to be operational for a minimum of two months.

“There is absolutely no barrier to being tested,” Williams said, and noted that citizen status will not be checked, cost is covered either by insurance or by the state if you are uninsured, and if someone is without identification, testing staff will generate a unique identifier number to obtain results. 

To register for an appointment, people can visit here. Those without internet access can call 888-634-1123.

“With the other testing site located all the way in Shingle Springs, our facility provides for a really convenient and safer alternative for South Shore residents,” said LTCC Superintendent/President Jeff DeFranco in a press release. “We’re proud the college was able to provide for the health of our community this way.”

Health service staff will be conducting nasal swab tests in LTCC’s Physical Education building by appointment in order to determine the active presence of the COVID-19 virus.

Test results are expected to take 48-72 hours, according to officials. All test results will be entered into the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange site. Patients will receive a card at the time of testing directing them to a site for test results. Patients who test positively will be contacted by telephone by a nurse.

“If you’re curious as to whether an illness you had this winter was COVID-19, this is not the test for you,” Williams said. “Being tested at one of these sites will only tell you if you currently have an infection, which is most likely if you have symptoms now or if you had contact in the last few days with someone who had COVID-19. Some people are infected who have had no symptoms but they most likely spent significant time around people who had symptoms prior to that, like a household member.”

Testing in South Lake Tahoe starts Tuesday, May 5, at Lake Tahoe Community College, located at 1 College Drive. The hours of operation are from 7 a.m. – noon and 1-7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

In Shingle Springs, testing is at Ponderosa High School at the same times but on Thursday through Monday.

El Dorado County reported three new virus cases Friday, but two of them listed a Sacramento P.O. Box as their address in March but actually live in the county and have already recovered. The county has had 47 confirmed cases with 43 recoveries.

The county said the state looked at testing sites in both rural and urban areas where residents would have to travel no more than 30 and 60 minutes to reach a test site.

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. They are provided through a partnership with OptumServe, the federal government health services business of Optum, a leading health services innovation company.

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