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Napa County implements new COVID-19 testing schedule
COVID-19

Napa County implements new COVID-19 testing schedule

COVID-19 testing mobile units

Volunteers at the Napa Valley Expo site test a healthcare worker for COVID-19 in April. Napa County has, as of June 28, implemented a new testing system that utilizes mobile testing units in what a county spokesperson said was an effort to "diversify" testing accessibility.

Napa County has implemented new COVID-19 testing schedules countywide.

Drive-through testing had previously been available from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. six days a week at the Napa Valley Expo in downtown Napa. That testing site — a collaboration between the county and the nonprofit disaster response organization CORE in partnership Verily, a healthcare subsidiary of Alphabet — was established in early May.

A new testing schedule went into effect last week, according to the county. Testing in Napa County on Mondays and Tuesdays will now take place via mobile testing units deployed to various cities in the county. Testing is scheduled to take place for four hours each day in American Canyon, Calistoga and St. Helena on a rotating basis. The full schedule can be found on the county’s website.

Testing will no longer be conducted at the Expo site on Mondays and Tuesdays. Testing will no longer be conducted in Napa County at all on Wednesdays, marking a decline in testing days from six to five.

Asked about that decline and the decline in testing hours at mobile units, a county spokesperson said the change in testing could “possibly raise” the number of tests conducted per day, but said the county’s priority in implementing the changes was more so the ability to offer testing “in all communities rather than in just the City of Napa.”

“Napa County is diversifying where we are offering testing, so we may accommodate farmworkers and other residents from remote areas of the county who may have difficulty traveling to the Napa Expo testing site,” Napa County Public Health Officer Karen Relucio said in a written statement in response to questions about the county’s decision to implement the testing schedule changes.

The county is working with the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation on offering testing at the three farmworker housing centers in Napa County in the coming week, the spokesperson confirmed.

The county spokesperson also said the Wednesday break in testing was to accommodate the site’s volunteer base. The county is “losing volunteers as they go back to their regular jobs,” the spokesperson said, adding that the county’s efforts would help sustain staffing levels “for months to come.”

Testing appointments through Project Baseline are available one week in advance. There has been “high demand” for testing appointments, the spokesperson said.

“We encourage residents to check Project Baseline each morning for an appointment,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “Those with urgent symptoms should contact their primary care provider.”

Drive-through testing is also available at the CVS South Coombs Street location in Napa. Testing slots must be booked in advance through the pharmacy’s website.

A CVS employee confirmed that turnaround time for results from the CVS location was now seven to 10 days — up from two to four days originally — and attributed the delay to increase in demand on Quest Labs, which is running tests for Napa County.

A spokesperson for Quest Labs said the company did not have state or city level information available publicly, but referenced a press release in which the company referenced national upticks in testing levels and subsequent delays in turnaround time.

The county spokesperson said the county had to focus more of its efforts on testing individuals who’d had close contact with confirmed cases, contributing to increased workloads for local labs. Outbreaks in congregate facilities — like San Quentin State Prison, which has more than 1,100 cases among inmates — also increase turnaround times, the county said.

You can reach Sarah Klearman at (707) 256-2213 or sklearman@napanews.com.

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Wine Industry Reporter

Wine industry reporter at the Napa Valley Register.

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