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Public Health offering pop-up COVID-19 tests in Isla Vista

COVID testing in Isla Vista

ISLA VISTA, Calif. — Since August 1, Isla Vista has had 201 of its 246 total confirmed cases of COVID-19. During that time, Santa Barbara County health officials have confirmed 1,060 cases in people between 18 to 29 years old. The growing trend is why Santa Barbara County Public Health has created three testing dates in Isla Vista.

The tests will be available for free October 9, October 23 and November 6. The testing location is near the University of California Santa Barbara’s campus at the Isla Vista Theater at 960 Embarcadero del Norte. 

On Tuesday October 13, Santa Barbara County Public Health officials added two more testing dates, October 24 and November 7. Both are on Saturdays following previously scheduled Friday testing.

On Friday nearly 100 COVID-19 tests were administered. Most of those getting tested were students from UCSB. The new pop-up testing location is aimed mainly at those students, as thousands return to the area for fall quarter. Walk-ins were available but filled within minutes.

UCSB senior, Mia Manalastas, got tested with two of her housemates. She said, "Me and my roommates got it because one of our roommates is immune-compromised. And she's moving in next week. So we just want to be extra safe and make sure we don't pass anything to her."

Jamir Oyola also got tested. He just started his junior year and said, "Just to be safe be sure I don't have anything."

According to Santa Barbara County Public Health, 82% of the cases in Isla Vista have been recorded just since August 1. And health experts wanted to address those rising numbers.

Matt Higgs works for the Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services Agency. He said, "We did see a significant number of positive cases come out as students were returning to the IV area. So we want to make sure that we're getting people tested."

Jessica Shaw was the first walk-in appointment. She had to wait in line for an hour and a half to get a test. "If we had more resources and it happened a little bit more often," she said. "The crowd wouldn't have been as big. And we would get more people to show up and these people wouldn't have to wait so long in line as well."

Those who took a test were asked to self-isolate over the weekend while they wait for test results.

"Tan on the deck," said Manalastas, "we'll probably be inside most of the time."

They students hope to see more testing avaialble.

"I would much rather take a test every month than not knowing if I have COVID or not," said Oyola.

To signup for a free test visit the Santa Barbara Public Health website. Tests will be from noon to 4 p.m. Public health officials say everyone is eligible for a test and walk-ins are accepted.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Scott Sheahen

Scott Sheahen is a reporter for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Scott, click here.


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