As the COVID pandemic seems to continue to have a hold on our world, there is always a chance of exposure to the virus as we navigate through our daily routines. If you are exposed, do you have the ability to get tested quickly and efficiently?

The answer to this very important question does not have an easy solution. The local drugstores (Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS) where testing once was available, are no longer testing sights. When you look at the California state website for locations, there are several listed, but you quickly find out a test sight is no longer open.

After speaking with staff at several pharmacies, they explained that since home testing became available, and vaccinations rates have increased, they no longer have the staff to accommodate testing for the virus. The catch here is that if you decide to take a home test, the kits are rarely available on pharmacy shelves. Customers are buying them in bulk and keeping them at home in case of exposure or when needed for a last minute test required for travel. What is an exposed person to do?

Options available if you need to be tested require patience and research. If you live in Coronado, you can call your private physician, tell them you have been exposed to the virus and they will call the lab for a screening appointment. What follows may vary based on your doctor, but Sharp Coronado Hospital will then have you pull up to the front of the facility, call the main number, and the lab tech will come to your vehicle and give you the necessary tools to self administer the test from your car. Results are available in 24-48 hours. Charges are billed to your insurance.

You can also go to an urgent care facility and request a COVID test. If you have insurance, they will administer the test and bill your insurance. If you do not have insurance, the cost of a test is $95.

There are several brands of home test kits available in pharmacies and on line through Amazon and many other websites. The prices range from $18 to $1079. It’s hit or miss finding the tests on pharmacy shelves. Most of the kits online are listed as “in stock soon” and many of the pharmacies shelves have an empty space where the test kit used to be. When pharmacies do get shipments in, they are usually gone from the shelves in about 10 days.

There have been 1153 new COVID cases in San Diego County since Thanksgiving. There are also new restrictions in place (especially overseas) that require testing prior to traveling. Needless to say, we are not past the need for testing, but we are facing a lack of availability compared to when COVID first surfaced.

Here are a few helpful hints to wind your way through the maze of what is an actual testing site from what used to be:

Go to:

You will note “The City of Coronado Community testing program is closed” and you will find additional information.

Or go to:

There is a list of testing sites available in the county.

Be advised that some have been discontinued so check prior to going to the site listed. Most locations do not require an appointment.

Call 211. This is a hotline designed to provide information and referrals to health and human services programs. Be patient. It is not easy to get through to the recording.

While COVID seems to be a never ending partner in our communities, it is important that we stick together and help one another stay healthy and informed.

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