SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The COVID testing location at the Goleta Valley Community Center is closing Thursday. The site is run in collaboration between Santa Barbara County Public Health and the California Department of Public Health. The contract to run the facility expires on December 30 and is not being renewed.
Santa Barbara County Public Health (SBCPH) director Van Do-Reynoso said they’re working to make up for those lost tests. She said SBCPH is increasing testing at other South County locations. There are two other sites in Santa Barbara, the testing bus at the Direct Relief parking lot, 801 Wallace Becknell Road, and the testing trailer at SBCPH, 267 Camino del Remedio.
“We will make sure that the coverage is adequate for the south county," said Do-Reynoso. "And we’ve done the numbers and we’re confident that the access is there.”
Do-Reynoso said SBCPH will increase the hours at the Direct Relief site to 12-hour days. And will have both testing sites move to a five days a week schedule so there is seven days a week testing availability. She added earlier this month SBCPH distributed 14,000 rapid at-home tests.
A new testing location or more testing availability could come to Santa Barbara. However, it would take some time. Do-Reynoso said her team is reviewing the demand for testing and is preparing to send a request to the state.
“To get more we will reach out to the state," said Do-Reynoso. "And it’s a fairly good two weeks three weeks turn around.”
Santa Barbara County schools also got at-home tests through their district. There are also employers in the county who are helping their employees get tested.
Van Do-Reynoso recommends people who think they were exposed or at risk due to travel get tested as soon as possible. If the test is positive to self-isolate the best possible. Then, contact those who might also be exposed. She said there should be no judgment toward those who get sick. Infection rates are so high that it’s more important to focus on keeping people safe rather than judging them for getting sick.
She adds new cases could be lower than the real number due to people testing positive at home and not reporting them to SBCPH. Reporting a positive test will help SBCPH keep an accurate count.