Irvine officials plan to offer COVID-19 drive-thru testing to all Irvine residents starting May 26. Appointments will be made online to schedule testing at a drive-through test site, one of which will be established at the Orange County Great Park.
The Irvine City Council, at Councilman Michael Carroll’s request, voted to create a testing program for Irvine employees and residents on April 28. As of May 12, a four-phase plan for reopening the city, which also addresses this testing process, was approved by the Irvine City Council.
State health officials and Orange County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick view increased testing as a vital component in reopening parts of the economy.
County officials have finalized plans to provide free antigen testing to OC residents in order to determine how many people have already had the virus, along with providing antibody testing as an “add on” for $10 per person.
According to Carroll, the issue with offering tests is that “testing is simply unavailable for people without symptoms.” While testing capacity has grown, some providers still prioritize those who are more prone to contracting the disease, such as first responders and people in nursing homes.
This issue can be seen with LA city officials who declared testing for anyone who requests it, despite limited supplies and capacity that prioritize testing towards people who are at higher risk or those with symptoms.
Shortages of certain test supplies and protective gear for health care workers also pose a serious issue.
“The police and other city workers should be tested first to ensure that the system is running smoothly and that safety is established,” Carroll said to the OC Register. After the initial testing stage, the program will be opened to city residents.
According to Carroll, the Orange County Health Care Agency would receive data from those who tested positive.
Informative resources, including details about how to register for an appointment, will soon be provided to Irvine residents.
“Testing, at least to me and I think the rest of the council, was a real priority,” Carroll said. “It will give people an appropriate sense of comfort that they can get back to their daily lives.”
Another key factor will be increased tracking of infected people to see who the person has come into contact with and where they spend their time in order to reduce future outbreaks.
As of May 14, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Orange County is 3,968, with 80 cumulative deaths. Currently, there are 61,619 tests available, demonstrating a consistent increase in testing capacity. A total of 227 cases have been hospitalized, 79 of whom are in the ICU. Case counts are updated daily.
To connect with OC Agencies for more information and resources pertaining to the virus, call the COVID-19 hotline at (833) 426-6411.
Alessandra Arif is a Staff Writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.