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COVID-19: Local testing capacity increased – Get tested and limit spread of disease 

get tested for COVID-19-SLO County

County health officials urge residents: If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested

—As local COVID-19 testing capacity has increased, the County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department urges residents to seek testing if they experience even mild symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019  – COVID-19.

The number of confirmed cases in SLO County has slowed in recent days. No new cases were reported on Monday in SLO County. Health officials believe this is due in part to individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 yet have not been tested. “We think there is more COVID-19 in our community than the numbers are showing,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, San Luis Obispo County Health Officer.

“When more people get tested, we will have a better understanding of where and how this disease is spreading here in SLO County—and that will help us target efforts to protect the community from further spread.”

Increased testing will provide a more accurate picture of COVID-19 cases in SLO County and the support needed to reduce its spread. Increased testing will not change the need to maintain physical distancing to limit the spread of disease.

There should be no cost, regardless of insurance provider, Borenstein said.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Less common symptoms include fatigue, body aches, chills, sore throat, and may include runny nose or diarrhea. Older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. For testing, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call your local urgent care center. Visit ReadySLO.org for a list of local testing sites. There is no charge for COVID-19 testing.

The Public Health Department no longer requires healthcare providers to screen for other illnesses, such as the flu, and can now test any resident with symptoms of the virus. Residents should stay home except to carry out essential business or seek health care and should maintain a distance of at least six (6) feet from others outside their household. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and have trouble getting tested, call the Public Health Department at 805-781-5500.

For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit ReadySLO.org or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at (805) 788-2903. A staffed phone assistance center at (805) 543-2444 is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for questions related to COVID-19. To report a business violating the Shelter at Home order, call (805) 788-2222.

There are currently 95 cases in SLO County with over half, 54, in North County.

By Monday morning, there were at least 15,332 cases and 353 deaths in the State of California and 362,759 cases and 10,689 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Check back on this story for additional updates.


Cases-of-COVID-19-in-SLO-County

Distribution of COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County

  • Paso Robles reported COVID-19 cases: 27
  • Atascadero reported COVID-19 cases: 19
  • Arroyo Grande reported COVID-19 cases: 13
  • City of San Luis Obispo reported COVID-19 cases: 8
  • Morro Bay reported COVID-19 cases: 6
  • Templeton reported COVID-19 cases: 6
  • Nipomo reported COVID-19 cases: 5
  • Other San Luis Obispo County reported COVID-19 cases: 11

Ages of COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County

  • Age 0-17 years old – 4
  • Age 18-49 years old – 37
  • Age 50 – 64 years  – 25
  • Age 65 and older – 29

Cases of COVID-19 by status in San Luis Obispo County

  • At home – 25
  • Hospitalized – 4, 3 in ICU
  • Recovered – 65
  • Deaths – 1

Source of transmission of COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County

  • Travel related transmission – 33
  • Known person-to-person transmission – 35
  • Unknown community-acquired transmission – 26
  • Unknown – 1

Number of people tested for COVID-19 in San Luis Obispo County

As of Monday afternoon, the county reports conducting 511 COVID-19 tests. An unknown number of residents have been tested by private labs, the county reports. Private labs doing testing include WestPac Labs, Quest Diagnostics, Pacific Diagnostic Laboratories, LabCorp, VRDL.


Recent SLO County COVID-19 coronavirus updates


State expands hospital capacity to fight expected surge in COVID-19 cases

SACRAMENTO – Monday at the former Sleep Train Arena, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state is making progress in securing additional beds to treat COVID-19 patients and relieve pressure on the health care delivery system. The Governor announced California has already secured up to 4,613 additional beds at alternate care sites and shuttered hospitals to care for an anticipated surge in COVID-19 patients, with even more capacity being finalized.

The state has aggressively planned for a surge in hospitalizations in the coming weeks and aims to add 50,000 beds to our existing hospital capacity of nearly 75,000 beds. At least 60 percent of those additional beds, or 30,000, will come from within existing hospitals, and the state will secure the remaining beds, up to 20,000.

“California has been working closely with hospitals to aggressively expand our state’s ability to treat the coming surge in COVID-19 patients,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “As a result, California is adding tens of thousands more hospital beds, sourcing and distributing lifesaving medical supplies and ventilators, and significantly expanding our health care workforce. This is an all hands on deck effort, and I am extremely grateful to all of our partners in the medical community, the private sector and across government for helping us get this far. All of these efforts will only pay off if we continue to slow the spread of the virus. Staying home will save lives.”

The former Sleep Train Arena, now known as Natomas Arena, in Sacramento is one of several alternate care sites that will provide care for less sick patients, thus allowing hospitals to focus their resources on those with the most acute needs. The state’s alternate care sites to date include:

  • Eight federal medical stations operating or being set up across the state, each with a maximum of 250 beds;
  • The former Sleep Train Arena, which has a maximum capacity of 400 beds;
  • Fairview Developmental Center, with a maximum capacity of 520 beds;
  • Porterville Developmental Center, with a maximum capacity of 246 beds;
  • San Carlos Hotel, with a maximum capacity of 120 beds; and
  • CPMC – Pacific Campus, with a maximum capacity of 291 beds.

 

Alternate care sites will be staffed using a number of resources, including the newly established California Health Corps. The Health Corps is made up of health care providers, behavioral health professionals, and health care administrators who sign up to work at alternate care sites. They will add to the existing state health care workforce with underutilized and underemployed professionals, and with qualified student, retiree, and out-of-state health care providers.

In addition, the state has leased two hospitals and received a naval medical ship from the federal government as surge facilities:

  • Seton Medical Center in Daly City, which has a maximum capacity of 220 beds;
  • St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, which has a maximum capacity of 266 beds; and
  • USNS Mercy, which has an easily-accessible maximum capacity of up to 550 beds. (Note: USNS Mercy has a capacity of 1,000 bunk beds).

Insurance Commissioner says all workers affected by COVID-19 on the job are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of immigration status

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today alerted insurance companies that all workers affected by COVID-19 on the job are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of their immigration status. This includes workers engaged in front-line occupations such as health care, emergency services, food production, sales, and delivery, among others.

“This unprecedented pandemic has sparked questions and concerns among essential workers in the immigrant community who are showing up for work every day, bringing us vital goods and services,” Commissioner Lara said. “Hard-working Californians who are exposed to COVID-19 are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they fall ill, regardless of their immigration status.”

Commissioner Lara issued a Notice to remind insurance companies, agents, and employers that California law requires the payment of workers’ compensation benefits to injured workers regardless of their immigration status. His action supports Governor Gavin Newsom’s March 12 executive order stating that workers may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they were exposed to or contracted COVID-19 on the job.




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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.