More PCR COVID Testing Needed To Reopen Businesses in Riverside County

More PCR COVID Testing Needed To Reopen Businesses in Riverside County

Kitty Alvarado

I took an antigen COVID test or rapid test at Doctor Rapid Test in Rancho Mirage on Tuesday .

It detects COVID proteins and is approved by the FDA. The results are ready in less than 15 minutes. The accuracy, if you have symptoms is more than 90 percent. But this test does not count toward our required state numbers. The COVID case percentage rate goes up if we don’t test enough.

So I also took the test that does count, the PCR test. It detects the virus’ genetic material. That test usually gets sent out to a lab and results are ready in a couple of days. 

California is one of only five states that do not count rapid tests towards the numbers. Something the County of Riverside has been trying to change. 

“We were urging the state to include the state anigen numbers with our regular numbers as well the PCR test,” says Jose Arballo Jr., Riverside County Department of Public Health’s senior public information officer.

In order for the county to move out of the restrictive purple tier and reopen more businesses we must have a COVID case rate below seven percent for two weeks.

“Our adjusted case rate is 8.3 per 100,000 which is doing way better than it was just a few weeks back  and just short of the number we need to go into the red,” says Arballo. 

The state rewards counties who test more by lowering their case rate and punishes those who don’t by adding to their real number, right now the county’s testing is too low.

“We have an adjustment done because we are testing at a lower rate than the state median,” says Arballo. 

So if we do more testing it’s likely the county could be in the red tier where dining, movie theaters and gyms can reopen at lower capacity.

“In the end if we test more people the state’s adjustment on our case rate will be not as severe as it is now,” says Arballo adding that the good news is the county’s numbers are trending in the right direction. 

That will be welcome news for this yoga instructor  who has been doing zoom yoga for far too long. 

“Well in person it’s just a different atmosphere, this is what we miss and hopefully it will be soon available when it is safe of course,” says Holger Aguilar. 

It’s important to get tested even if you have had a COVID vaccine. You can still get the virus and pass it on to others without knowing because you’re more likely to have mild symptoms or be asymptomatic.

The county sites run by Curative use PCR testing.

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