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April 30, 2020 – Following Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement to add more than 80 community testing sites across the state, Nevada County will soon launch a test site in Grass Valley. Another site in neighboring Placer County in the North Tahoe area will also be able to serve nearby Nevada County residents in the Truckee/Tahoe area. Nevada and Placer Counties collaborated on the testing site locations in an effort to ensure that the sites are strategically placed and that people who have had difficulty accessing testing are able to gain that access with the least amount of required travel.
The new testing sites are scheduled to open next week. The new sites are powered through a partnership with OptumServe, the federal government health services business of Optum, a leading health services innovation company. Testing will be by appointment only. Additional information and location details will be released when appointments become available.
“These new testing sites will help Nevada County and our neighboring counties dramatically increase testing capacity for those who have had limited access to COVID-19 tests up until now,” said Dr. Ken Cutler, Nevada County Health Officer. “Additional testing locally and statewide will help us work towards a thoughtful and phased reopening.”
Nevada County is now encouraging all residents with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to get tested, whether through a provider or through an OptumServe site, as testing capacity has grown countywide.
To determine where to locate new testing sites, the state looked at rural areas where Californians would have to travel 60 minutes to reach an existing testing site or hospital. That information was then evaluated based on underserved populations, to address known disparities, and median income, so residents have access to testing regardless of socioeconomic status.
OptumServe has extensive expertise in rapidly deploying and setting up health care services and has worked closely with the military under the leadership of former Army Surgeon General and retired Lieutenant General Patty Horoho, RN.
“OptumServe is honored to assist California in expanding COVID-19 testing for residents,” said Patty Horoho, CEO of OptumServe. “We are bringing our full commitment and capabilities to serve Californians, including extensive experience conducting large community health events.”
At maximum capacity, OptumServe will be able to support up to 80 testing sites at one time throughout the state, increasing total testing capacity by more than 10,500 tests per day.
“Thanks to Nevada County and to OptumServe for the collaboration to make these testing sites possible,” said Charity Dean, M.D., Assistant Director of the California Department of Public Health. “We’re working together as part of the state’s Testing Task Force to ensure regions with the greatest need have access to tests, and these sites are going to be a major component in reaching our testing goals.”