By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
County Sets Drive-Thru Free COVID-19 Testing

Free Drive-Thru COVID-19 testing sites will be available in San Joaquin County from Saturday through Monday, Sept. 26 through 28, with locations in Manteca, Lathrop, and Stockton. Testing is being coordinated through the Army Corp Civil Support Teams and San Joaquin County. No appointments are needed, but testing will be first come first served for those 18 years old and over with valid ID and contact information for test results.

“In addition to wearing a mask, washing hands, and social distancing, the easiest thing residents can do to help ease the COVID-19 restrictions is to get tested,” San Joaquin County Public Health Officer Dr. Maggie Park said. “We need people who have been to recent gatherings or not showing symptoms to take advantage of the testing.”

The drive-thru sites will operate from noon to 6 p.m., with the following schedule:

Saturday, Sept. 26 in Manteca - 555 Industrial Park Drive (Formerly known as the Qualex building);

Sunday, Sept. 27 in Lathrop - Lathrop Community Center, 15557 Fifth St.;

Monday Sept. 28 in Stockton - Franklin High School, 4600 E. Fremont St.

Those with no symptoms or with mild/moderate symptoms can be tested at these sites. However, people with severe symptoms should contact their healthcare providers for testing. Those tested will receive their results by the contact methods provided.

If you test positive, or think you will, stay home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a cloth face covering.

San Joaquin County remains in the most restrictive purple tier indicating widespread transmission of COVID-19, because more than seven new cases per 100,000 per day are being identified. According to the State Department of Public Health, San Joaquin County was at 12.6 new cases per 100,000 per day and a 9.1 percent positivity rate on Sept. 8, 2020. As of Sept. 21, the County is at 9.5 new cases per 100,000 per day and has a positivity rate of 7.1 percent.

Park reported to the county’s Board of Supervisors, updating them on the COVID situation and county response at the recent meeting. She said that, per the State’s new guidelines, at a minimum, counties must remain in a tier for at least three weeks before moving to a different tier. Data is reviewed weekly, and tiers are updated on Tuesdays. To move forward, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks. If a county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will be assigned a more restrictive tier. If a county is not meeting the statewide average for testing, they are penalized for not meeting the metric, which could keep many counties like San Joaquin from moving into the next reopening tier.

Dr. Park emphasized that in order to move from the current purple tier into the red tier that San Joaquin County residents are strongly encouraged to get tested whether or not they have symptoms.

In addition to the three sites for testing in Manteca, Lathrop and Stockton, the county is also hosting a Family Drive-Thru COVID-19 Event with health information, giveaways, and free COVID-19 testing on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hamilton Elementary School in Stockton.

Kathy Miller, Chair of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, said, “Countywide testing among all residents will provide the State with a clear and accurate picture of our positivity rate. People ask all the time what they can do to get our economy back on track and lives back to normal. Testing is a primary way to do that. The tests are free, convenient, widely available, and present very minor discomfort. We all need to take this message to heart and get tested.”

Dr. Park also reported to the Board that she has granted 17 waivers to schools in the county, with some already open and others due to open Sept. 28. Even though San Joaquin County is still on the State monitoring list, the California Department of Public Health provided guidance to allow a district superintendent, private school principal/head of school, or executive director of a charter school to apply for a waiver from the local health officer to open an elementary school for in-person instruction. The waiver is applicable only for grades TK-6, even if the grade configuration at the school includes additional grades. In order to qualify for a waiver, schools must follow several metrics, which can be found on the CDPH website.

The Board of Supervisors, at their recent meeting, also approved several items related to COVID-19, including:

Appropriation increase of $415,838 to the Aging and Community Services budget to reflect additional funds through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act for the Senior Nutrition Program.

Authorization of the Information Systems Director, or designee, on behalf of the Registrar of Voters, to execute the Help America Vote Act grant funding agreement for COVID-19-related election expenditures through Dec. 31, 2020, for $1,225,213.

Authorization to purchase hospital medical equipment related to COVID-19 totaling $2,254,033.