State Testing Availability Impacted by Increased Demand
Source: Santa Barbara County Public Health Department
In early May, Santa Barbara County began community testing in partnership with the California Department of Public Health. The testing being conducted is intended to identify if an individual currently has the COVID-19 virus. Over the course of the past two months the testing sites’ utilization has increased significantly. While we continue to support members of our community getting tested, the current volume of asymptomatic, low/no-risk individuals getting tested has reduced the capacity of these state-run sites to test essential and healthcare workers, symptomatic individuals, those who have had an exposure or individuals at risk. Community members unable to schedule an appointment at the state-run sites should contact their primary care provider or local urgent care centers.
When considering getting a test, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) recommends asking yourself the following questions. If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you should get tested.
- Do you work in a high-risk environment for the transmission of COVID-19?
- Example: an industry with frequent interaction of members of the public
- Are you an essential worker?
- Example: utility workers, grocery store workers, food supply workers, other public employees
- Do you live or work in a congregate setting?
- Example: Correctional facility (jail, prison, etc.), homeless shelter, residential care facility, or dorm.
- Have you had close contact with an individual who has been recently confirmed as having COVID-19?
- Close contact is about 15 minutes, in a closed room less than six feet apart with neither party wearing a mask.
- Have you been experiencing any symptoms of illness, different than seasonal allergies?
- Cough, runny nose, fatigue, headaches, sore throat, loss of taste, nausea, etc.
- Has a Public Health Department employee recommended that you get tested?
If you cannot answer yes to any of these questions, you are at lower risk for contracting COVID-19 and are not advised to be tested at this time. By deferring getting a COVID-19 test, you are allowing those who are at a higher risk for exposure to gain timely testing appointments.
PHD asks that you continue to follow state and local guidelines to:
- Stay home when possible.
- Remain six feet away from others and wear a face covering when engaging in tasks away from home.
- Wash your hands with soap and water regularly.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick. Avoid public spaces and your worksite.
By doing these activities, you remain at substantially lower risk for contracting and spreading COVID-19. For more information about COVID-19, please visit www.publichealthsbc.org or call the County Call Center at (833) 688 – 5551.