Teenagers and young adults are encouraged to get tested for coronavirus because Riverside County health officials believe the group has been underrepresented in testing so far.

More than 71,000 people have been tested in Riverside County – at county- and state-run testing sites, clinics, hospitals and private facilities – and health officials say it is important that all segments of the population get tested to help determine the spread of coronavirus in the community. While adults have been well represented in testing, officials said they would like more of those 25 and younger to get screened.

According to census data, those 18 and under make up about 25 percent of Riverside County’s population, but that group has made up only 6.6% of the testing appointments at the county’s coronavirus testing sites.

“We would like to get a more complete picture of the illness as it has spread among young people,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of public health for Riverside County. “This will helps us better understand who in the community has the disease and how it might be moving among children and families.”

The county currently operates four drive up testing sites – Indio, Perris, Riverside and Lake Elsinore – and those who want to be screened do not have to have symptoms, although they do need an appointment. Parent permission is required for testing of minors. For an appointment, call 800-945-6171.

Appointments are also required at the eight state-operated walk-up testing sites spread throughout the county. To make an appointment at the state sites go online, click here, or for those without internet access call 888-634-1123.

“Testing is for everyone, regardless of immigration status or insurance, and it is free,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “Testing has been expanded to be available for those with and without symptoms, and we encourage our young people to get themselves tested at one of our many testing sites.”

There is no cost to the person being tested at either the county or state operated facilities.

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