GOLETA, Calif. -- Santa Barbara's free COVID-19 testing location has moved. The testing site changed from the Earl Warren Show Grounds to the Goleta Valley Community Center.
Santa Barbara County Public Health officials said the change will not impact the free service nor change what is offered. Just the location has switched to 5679 Hollister Avenue in Goleta.
Last week, Santa Barbara County supervisor, Gregg Hart, encouraged more people in Santa Barbara County to get tested for COVID-19. He said a lower positivity testing rate will help show the state that the county can move to the next phase of reopening.
To sign up for a free test visit the Santa Barbara County Public Health website.
Nick Clay is the director of the Emergency Medical Service. He said of the change between Santa Barbara and Goleta, "Same process, just a new location."
On September 3 the Goleta Valley Community Center replaced the Earl Warren Show Grounds as the South Coast's free COVID-19 testing center.
"We wanted to ensure that we were providing a different population an opportunity to test," said Clay. "Getting to Earl Warren via public transport or other transport methods can be a challenge."
The community is also planning to take advantage of more testing availability.
John Quick lives in unincorporated Santa Barbara County. He said the new facility is closer to him. "Now that we do [have more testing capacity] and the county would like to find out what the true numbers are, they want to test more people. And I'm willing to throw myself in that fray."
Clay adds that the process to signup for one of those free COVID-19 tests, like the ones that were offered at the Earl Warren Show Ground, is the same process to signup for a free test now at the Goleta Valley Community Center. And health officials are encouraging people to signup for that free test to help with the county's reopening metrics.
"If you test at below the state metric, then your case count rate will be increased," said Clay. "Meaning it's counted as a negative if you don't test enough."
Earlier this summer, the Solvang testing location moved to Buellton. It's open Friday through Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Goleta is open Thursday through Monday, but right now it's booked through the end of September.
"The key for us is we really want to message that these are free testing sites for the community. But are not the only site for the community," said Clay.
Santa Maria's COVID-19 testing site hasn't moved and is still located at the Fairpark. If you sign up for a free test and can't make it you're asked to cancel so someone else can take that spot.