Photo Credits: Cathy Tang / Aggie
Widespread COVID-19 testing vital during holiday travel season
Yolo County is offering free COVID-19 tests beginning Nov. 2 and ending Nov. 30, according to a press release. Testing is being offered at multiple locations throughout the county, including the Davis Senior Center.
Testing at the Davis Senior Center will be offered on Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 from 3-7 p.m. at 646 A St. Testing is also available in West Sacramento, Madison, Knights Landing and Clarksburg.
In addition to the testing sites offered by Yolo County, OptumServe, the federal health services business of Optum and UnitedHealth Group, will provide residents with additional testing sites in Woodland from Nov. 3-28. Testing at OptumServe is also free and available to all California residents by appointment only.
The press release explains that individuals who wish to get tested must be a Yolo County resident and need to bring proof of residency.
“Participants of these testing sites must be residents of Yolo County and will need to bring a document displaying their address, such as a driver’s license, ID card, utility bill, or piece of mail,” the press release reads.
Although it is not required, participants are encouraged to register in order to expedite the process. Registration, however, does not guarantee a test, and time slots will not be available for selection.
Participants must wear a mask and maintain physical distancing at all test locations. There is no age restriction for tests and Spanish translations will be provided at most locations.
Yolo County Public Information Officer Jenny Tan explained that testing is especially important as the holiday season approaches.
“It is important as we move into the holiday season that we continue to provide testing,” Tan said. “We are trying to tell people that [they] should not gather, but we understand that there will be people that gather anyway. Get tested and quarantine in addition to physical distance and face covering.”
The website for the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which provides general guidelines for COVID-19 testing, recommends that people who have had symptoms of COVID-19, people who have been recommended by a doctor and people who have had close contact (defined as within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) with someone who has COVID-19 should consider getting tested.
In October, Yolo County provided 3,300 COVID-19 tests, 740 of which were administered in Davis. The Davis site has a capacity of about 400 tests and averages about 200 per week. Tan emphasized that while getting a test is important, it does not guarantee immunity and should be used in conjunction with other preventative measures.
“We definitely have the capacity to test a lot of people in Yolo County, and we want people to take advantage of that,” Tan said. “We are definitely trying to stress upon students especially that getting tested negative once doesn’t mean that you can’t get it or that you don’t need to wear a face covering.”
Crystal Tran, a third-year neurobiology, biology and behavior major, stressed the importance of testing for students who might not consider it a necessity.
“We might think that we are more immune because we’re younger but it’s still important,” Tran said. “Especially because it is the holiday season and people are traveling. Some people even have to leave because the dorms are closing [for winter break].”
Tran, whose job as an Aggie Public Health Ambassador requires regular testing, explained that while she was not aware that Yolo county was providing tests, it’s a great opportunity for Yolo County residents.
“I didn’t know that it was free for everyone, but it’s great that they are providing these tests,” Tran said.
According to Yolo County’s Health and Human Services website, which publishes daily updates on COVID-19, as of Nov. 4, Yolo county is still in the state’s Red Tier, or substantial tier; however, a recent rise in cases threatens a move back up to the purple, or widespread tier as soon as Nov. 10.
Written by: Yan Yan Hustis Hayes — email@example.com