More than 10,000 tests for Covid-19 with a vastly quicker turnaround time for test results may soon be available in the Coachella Valley.

The Desert Healthcare District and Foundation Board of Directors will have a special meeting (by phone) at 3 p.m. Friday, April 3, to consider allocating $350,000 for rapid COVID-19 tests. Unlike current tests that take 2 to 5 days to produce a result, these new tests would reveal the result in 15 minutes.

Current tests also are limited in supply across the valley. If approved by the Board, The community could be using the additional 10,606 rapid tests by the end of next week.

Dr. Conrado Bárzaga, Desert Healthcare District and Foundation CEO, said the plan would be to distribute the rapid test kits to the healthcare safety net, including Borrego Health, Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo and Desert AIDS Project, to “emphasize access to care for traditionally/underserved communities which are facing more challenges during this pandemic.”

The test is 90% accurate as a screening method and can be performed in a doctor’s office.

Currently, most Americans are tested using a nasal swap that produces results in 48 hours. The rapid tests use a drop of blood from a finger prick to identify COVID-19 antibodies.

Public health experts say testing is needed everywhere — as much as several hundred thousand a day.

As of Thursday afternoon, Riverside County officials reported that a total of 493 people in the county had tested positive for coronavirus, an increase of 64 cases from the day before.



Image Sources

  • COVID-19: Shutterstock