Drive-thru COVID-19 testing now available in the Central Valley

Local News

MERCED, California (KGPE) — A new way to test: some clinics in the Central Valley are now offering drive-thru novel coronavirus testing.

In the North Valley, Golden Valley Health Centers started offering this last Tuesday. However, right now it’s only available for its patients.

Once you get in line, the whole process can take less than ten minutes.

“The process is pretty fast. We are working on getting faster,” Jasjit Gill, family nurse practitioner with Golden Valley, said.

She and others at the clinic have been allowing patients to test for COVID-19 from the safety of their car. All they have to do is pull up and someone will administer a nasopharyngeal swab, so it can be sent to the lab for testing.

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Translators are also on-hand for non-English speakers.

Aside from being a Golden Valley patient, the individual needs a doctor’s referral and to call ahead to set up an appointment.

“They call in if they have any symptoms. Our call center screens them,” Gill said.

When patients leave, they are advised to stay home and are given a handout on best practices to prevent any possible spread.

“If you have three of the symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath — make sure you stay home and keep others safe,” Gill said.

Drive-thru testing is available at Golden Valley’s location at Golden Valley Health Center at 847 W. Childs Ave. in Merced from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

This is also available at Camarena Health’s location at 344 E. 6th St. in Madera from 1 p.m. through 4 p.m. You will need a doctor’s referral and to make an appointment here as well. However, you don’t have to be an existing patient.

Starting Monday, Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia will begin offering this testing. The hospital is closing a block of Floral Street in the downtown area so patients can park to be administered a swab.

COVID-19 resource links:

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