County announces community testing vendor change

The free drive-through COVID-19 testing will continue in Lassen County, but through a new vendor: OptumServe. The testing will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.

“We’ve been doing community testing for a while now,” said Health and Social Services Director Barbara Longo while discussing the upcoming change during the Tuesday, Jan. 12 Lassen County Board of Supervisors meeting.

The state has contracted with a new vendor, OptumServe, to keep the free drive-through COVID-19 testing available. OptumServe will replace Verily as the provider and was awarded funding by the state for this purpose. The drive-through will continue to be located at the Lassen County Public Health building, 1445 Paul Bunyan Road; however, OptumServe will be bringing in their own team.

“This will be the last week we have Verily,” Longo informed the board. She added while OptumServe would be bringing their own team for the testing, the local staff will aid in the transition process.

For the new contract, the OptumServe team will come up to Susanville once a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays for the drive through testing.

Those wanting to get tested must register online at https://lhi.care/start. If you have previously had a test at public health, you will need to re-register since this is a separate vendor.

This community testing is for residents who want to be tested for a variety of reasons, including those who do not have symptoms, but want to check.

For residents who think they or a loved one are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, they should discuss it with their health provider, or call the local hotline at 251-8100, open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Testing to confirm a positive infection will continue as usual through health care providers or at public health. For symptomatic cases, the county can still utilize a lab in Shasta County.

Longo also said the county has also been using rapid tests, which get results within an hour. When comparing the rapid test and the nasal swab, they’ve been finding it’s reliable for a positive test. If the rapid test comes back negative, though, and people are experiencing symptoms, they will still do the nasal swab.

“With that being said, we are very, I guess I could say, optimistic that we can continue with our community-based testing. We will have the information on our website. Individuals will need to register. There is no cost. If a person has medical insurance, the medical insurance will be billed. If they do not have medical insurance, the government will pay for the test,” Longo said Tuesday.

Public health will continue to provide COVID-19 Contact Tracing to contain and prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

 

**This article was updated with new information.

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