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Napa County is ramping up COVID-19 testing at a new site
Public Health

Napa County is ramping up COVID-19 testing at a new site

From the Coronavirus roundup from the Napa Valley Register, St. Helena Star, and The Weekly Calistogan series

COVID-19 testing is ramping up in Napa County with a relocated, higher-volume county testing program and an upcoming, two-day clinic by a San Francisco-based heath care provider.

The bottom line – Napans will have more chances to make appointments for free COVID-19 testing, if they meet screening criteria.

Napa County’s new testing location is a secured, by-appointment-only site that debuted Friday at Napa Valley Expo. Rosalina Calderon was among the first people to drive through for a nose swab test taken while she stayed in her car.

Calderon has no COVID-19 symptoms. But her job with OLE Health exposes her to patients who may or may not have the virus and she comes home to a 3-year-old grandchild.

“I want to be safe,” Calderon said through a red face covering with white polka dots.

County Public Health Officer Karen Relucio said 50 people would be tested that Friday, twice as many as were tested daily at the previous testing site. About 100 people were to be tested Saturday.

Relucio would like to see 213 people tested daily in the county to get a good idea of the disease’s prevalence and help plan for loosening shelter-at-home restrictions. Hospitals and health care providers also do testing.

Coming days will show how close Napa County will get to Relucio’s goal. But, at the very least, things are moving in the right direction.

“I think it’s going to have a significant impact,” Relucio said as she stood in sight of the white, drive-up testing tent.

The site came about in part because Lydia Mondavi was frustrated by the lack of testing capacity locally and was especially concerned about farmworkers. She called up Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), a nonprofit co-founded by actor Sean Penn that is involved with testing.

“It was a cold call,” said Mondavi, who had no connections with the group.

The call came at the right time. CORE happened to be working with Gov. Gavin Newsom and the company Verily to establish six testing sites with a focus on underserved communities, such as farmworkers and communities of colors.

Napa County secured one of the sites. Rob and Lydia Mondavi introduced the partnership to Napa County Public Health. Local physician Ingrid Hohimer McNicoll and Napa Valley Vintners helped make the site a reality.

McNicoll spent her vacation from the emergency room working on creating the testing site. She saw the dire situation in New York, where she did her residency.

“I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night and live with myself is I didn’t do everything in my power to keep Napa from a surge situation,” she said.

There’s more to come. Matt O’Connell of CORE said mobile testing will soon be reaching out to the most vulnerable community members who may not be able to drive a car to the new testing site.

“This is what CORE is all about,” O’Connell said Friday at the test site. “We had a matching of values.”

Testing is open to residents with symptoms and to first responders and health care workers who live or work in the county who may have been exposed to the virus.Those interested can take an online screening test.

Go to or call 253-4540 to get information on Napa County COVID-19 testing.

2-day clinic next week

San Francisco-based Carbon Health is taking a different approach. It has launched what amounts to a COVID-19 testing tour, coming to Bay Area communities with a trailer provided by Studio Dental.

Carbon Health will hold the local clinic from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, April 29-30, at South Napa Marketplace, 255 Soscol Ave. But people shouldn’t just show up. They need an appointment, especially given shelter-at-home and social distancing orders.

“We don’t want overcrowding,” spokesperson Samantha Lutz said. “We don’t want hundreds of people to show up at one time.”

Plus, Carbon Health prioritizes the testing.

“The testing is for those who are having symptoms or believe they are at risk for exposure, as well as essential workers,” Lutz said. “Not just anyone can go and take the test. There is definitely a screening process ahead of time.”

Go to to schedule an appointment.

Most insurance plans cover the test. The Family First Coronavirus Response Act will apply in other cases, she said.

“So essentially nobody pays,” Lutz said.

The clinic can do more than 100 tests a day. Carbon Health will inform Napa County Public Health of positive tests, she said.

But the Carbon Health clinic didn’t set up the clinic in partnership with Napa County Public Health. In fact, Relucio on Friday morning said she found out about the effort on Facebook. She had a phone call scheduled with the group that day.

Carbon Health is bringing its mobile clinic to several Bay Area sites. The clinic has already been to Pleasanton. Clinics are scheduled in Hayward, San Jose, Vallejo, Novato and San Francisco.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed recently announced that her city is working with Carbon Health on a testing site for frontline workers. Her press release said Carbon Health “has been at the forefront of the pandemic to increase access to care and testing.”

Napa County as of Friday had 1,213 COVID-19 tests done to date, with 325 coordinated by county Public Health and 888 done by hospitals, health care providers and healthcare systems. It had 58 positive tests.

Editor’s Note: Because of the health implications of the COVID-19 virus, this article is being made available free to subscribers and non-subscribers alike. If you’d like to join us in supporting the mission of local journalism, please visit

You can reach Barry Eberling at 256-2253 or

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Napa County Reporter

Barry Eberling covers Napa County government, transportation, the environment and general assignments. He has worked for the Napa Valley Register since fall 2014 and previously worked 27 years for the Daily Republic of Fairfield.

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