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KCBX News Update: Changes at SLO County COVID testing sites, and Newsom urges water conservation

Most of the Central Coast is classified in the "severe drought" category.
U.S. Drought Monitor
Most of the Central Coast is classified in the "severe drought" category.

Morro Bay coronavirus testing center to close, while other sites offer antigen tests

There are few changes to San Luis Obispo County community COVID testing sites this week as demand continues to decline.

The Morro Bay testing site at the Veterans Memorial Building closes tomorrow, which the county says is because of a large drop in demand for testing at that location.

At the same time, the county’s other three locations in San Luis Obispo, Grover Beach and Paso Robles are expanding services. All three sites are now offering free antigen tests as well as PCR tests as of this week.

Antigen tests are much faster than PCR tests, giving results in about 30 minutes compared to the standard two-day timeframe of PCR tests. However, they’re also less accurate, so the county is advising people who have COVID-like symptoms and test negative from an antigen test also take a PCR test.

Both tests are done on-site by a clinician, and the testing sites do not distribute antigen tests for use at home.

More information on testing sites and vaccines is available at slocountypublichealth.org/covid19.

Governor Newsom urges water conservation amid drought

As the Central Coast and the rest of California moves into another dry year, Governor Gavin Newsom is asking state water regulators this spring to ban non-residential users from watering their grass.

Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot says it would not apply to grass at parks, ball fields and golf courses. He pointed out turf grass that serves only aesthetic purposes as one place to save water.

"That would be a really good candidate for stopping irrigation on. And frankly, incentivizing and ultimately moving toward replacing that turf with other surfaces, including native plants," Crowfoot said.

Despite recent rain on the Central Coast and elsewhere, water officials expect this to be the driest first three months of any year in the state’s recorded history. They're preparing for a third year of extreme drought.

Most of San Luis Obispo County is considered to be in “severe drought” by the U.S. Drought Monitor, while some eastern sections of the county are classified a step higher in the “extreme drought” category.

Santa Barbara County is considered in “severe drought” and does not have any sections of “extreme drought.”

An interactive map of drought conditions in California and the rest of the country is available at drought.gov.

This story was based on reporting from CapRadio News as part of the CapRadio Network for public radio stations.

KCBX News is led by News Director Gabriela Fernandez under the oversight of Programming and Content Director Marisa Waddell. Amanda Wernik and Sarina Grossi are the current reporters, with assistance from reporter/editor Kim Foster Carlson. Posts by "KCBX News Staff" reflect collaborative writing and reporting from multiple news team members and may include work from Fernandez, Wernik, Grossi, Carlson, Waddell and newsroom interns/volunteers.
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