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COVID-19 tests remain limited, health officials say 

COVID-19 testingPublic Health urges residents to ‘save your test’ for the right moment, avoid ER for routine testing

– With limited supplies and strong demand for COVID-19 testing due to record-high case rates, San Luis Obispo County health officials are offering guidance to help residents make the most of available testing resources.

“We recognize the difficult situation our community is in,” said County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein. “My heart especially goes out to those who need to find a scarce test in order to see their loved ones. Our advice right now is about making the most efficient use of testing so you can protect your loved ones and get back to work or school when you are well. If you have only one or two home tests or can only find one appointment, we want that test to be as effective as possible.”

COVID-19 testing is available at no-cost community sites in Grover Beach, Morro Bay, Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo as well as through pharmacies, doctor’s offices, the SLO County airport clinic and FDA-approved at-home testing kits. Community sites have recently performed around 7,000 tests per week, and capacity at the Morro Bay community testing site will increase the week of Jan. 17.

Officials encourage residents to:

Time it well – If you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, if you’ve traveled or if you’ve attended a gathering, get tested on Day 5 after the exposure for the most accurate read. If you have symptoms, get tested right away.

Make an appointment – Community testing sites may not be able to accommodate walk-ins during this surge. If you can’t find an appointment right away at your preferred location, consider a different location with open appointments.

Don’t go to the ER for routine testing – If you feel well or have only mild symptoms, avoid going to the ER for a test. You’ll likely experience long wait times around others who are sick, and may delay care for someone facing severe illness. If you have severe symptoms—trouble breathing, chest pain/tightness, or severe confusion—seek emergency care right away.

Avoid testing fraud – You do not need to provide a Social Security Number to get tested. If you don’t have insurance, you can get tested at no cost at community testing sites. If you are purchasing at-home tests, be sure they are FDA-approved.

Don’t wait to isolate or quarantine – If you test positive with a lab or at-home test, isolate immediately and do not wait to hear from Public Health. Similarly, if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and are not up to date on vaccination, quarantine immediately and get tested on Day 5 after your last exposure. Find instructions at slopublichealth.org/quarantine-iso.

Report your home test result – If you test positive from home, report your results at SLOPublicHealth.org/testing. You can then follow links to receive documentation when you have completed your isolation.

Stay home if you are sick – If you’re sick with COVID-19 symptoms and are waiting for test results or can’t get tested right away, stay home from work and school.

“I would like to thank our community for seeking testing and helping protect others from this disease,” said Dr. Borenstein. “The demand for testing is a testament to a great many people in our community trying to do the right thing during this challenging time.”

Masking is required in indoor public places in San Luis Obispo County and across California. Medical-grade N95/KN95 or surgical masks provide additional protection. Vaccines—both boosters and primary series—are available at no cost at pharmacies, doctors’ offices, Public Health Department clinics, and mobile clinics countywide. To schedule an appointment, visit myturn.ca.gov or VaccineFinder.org, or call (833) 422-4255.

For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit slopublichealth.org/COVID19 or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at (805) 788-2903. Phone assistance is available at (805) 781 5500 Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.