Fresno County working to boost the number of COVID-19 testing sites

Local News

FRESNO, California (KGPE) — After the number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Fresno County doubled Friday, the public health department maintained the risk of transmission remains low – but officials want to make more tests available for residents.

The county’s three new cases are all travel-related, according to interim health officer Dr. Rais Vohra. Two of the patients recently returned from a cruise, while the third person visited family in the Bay Area and came in contact with a family member with the virus.

All three are stable and isolating at home, Vohra said.

The department has so far administered around 200 to 300 tests, according to the department’s director David Pomaville. Testing is being done at a handful of locations, including hospitals and an urgent care facility. The department is working to get more health care providers on board as testing sites.

“As we see more testing come online … there may be more general public availability. We expect there will be,” Pomaville said. “But, this week right now, we want to be sure those high-priority cases get tested first.”

Vohra said only high-risk individuals — either those from vulnerable populations or who have certain travel history — will be tested right now.

Vohra wishes more tests were available but said isolation is more valuable if someone gets symptoms. If someone remains sick for several days, or they have underlying conditions, that’s when it’s time to ask a doctor or the county for a test.

“We know from really good scientific data that 80% of people that come down with COVID-19 will be just fine in a couple of days. They’re going to recover after a lot of water, a lot of hydration, chicken soup and couch time,” Vohra said.

Both Vohra and Pomaville add maintaining good mental health is just as important now. Dr. Jasmine Singh, a psychiatrist resident in Fresno, said doing things like video calling loved ones will help ease anxiety around the pandemic.

“Find a way to connect. Share with someone a movie you watched, or plan to watch together then discuss afterward,” Singh said. “There are ways to keep the conversation going even though we are physically apart from other people.”

From the beginning, Pomaville said they’ve tracked around 550 people. Around half of them were cleared after being monitored for two weeks. Only a few from the second half had to be tested for the virus.

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