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SLO County looks to expand COVID-19 testing sites as demand exceeds capacity at current sites

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Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Coronavirus cases are increasing across the nation, and testing sites  — including here in San Luis Obispo County — are trying to keep up with the increase in demand.

Back in June, COVID-19 cases were declining, so SLO County Public Health decided they didn’t need as many mass testing sites and closed two of their locations: one in Grover Beach and the other in Morro Bay. But that has changed with COVID19 positive cases up 45 percent this past week, the two remaining county public COVID test sites are seeing an influx of people.

“It definitely seems a little Deja Vous," said Vince Pierucci, the incident commander for the county's COVID-19 response team. "However, with this Delta variant growing rapidly, the surge seems to be concerning at this point.”

Pierucci said the county's COVID-19 testing sites in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo are bringing in record numbers, even in comparison to the height of the pandemic.

“Both of our sites are exceeding capacity at this point," Pierucci said. "We've actually had two record days of demand at our San Luis Obispo Veterans Hall. Last Monday, we had 340 people show up to get tested, and yesterday was another record day where we had over 400 people show up to get tested.”

Pierucci said they’ve increased staffing at the sites to keep wait times low, and the county is currently working on plans of reopening a third testing location in the south county.

“We are pedaling as fast as we can," Pierucci said. "We are working with the state to identify a team as well as identify a site here locally.”

Michelle Shoresman with SLO County Public health said as of right now, walk-ups for testing are still being accepted, but they encourage people to register ahead of time at readyslo.org.

Those with insurance should have their insurance card with them.

“But, if people are uninsured, they should still not worry," Shoresman said "They should come and get tested. So insurance should not be a barrier to anyone at either of our sites.”

People can get tested free of charge at the Veteran’s Hall in San Luis Obispo or the Centennial Park in Paso Robles.

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