COVID-19 Testing on the Rise in Riverside County

Kamari Esquerra

COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Riverside County, and so do the number of people getting tested.

Deputy Public Health Officer of Riverside County Dr. Shunling Tsang said the county has seen an increase that is 4x greater than previous months. 

“Just a few months ago, we were down to a test rate of 100 per 100,000, and now we’re up to 400 per 100,000, so it’s a big increase,” said Dr. Tsang. 

This increase in testing, among both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, is due to a number of reasons.

“We have seen an uptick in testing corresponding to the uptick in Delta variants,” said Dr. Tsang

The Delta variant now makes up about 99% of COVID-19 cases, prompting people to go out and get tested to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Recent government-issued vaccine requirements are also contributing to the increase in tests.

“The state has put out a few mandates for certain industries to have testing for our unvaccinated employees.”

At the beginning of August, Governor Gavin Newsom implemented an order requiring healthcare workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 30. The city of Palm Springs also issued a similar mandate- requiring all restaurants and bars to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for guests dining indoors. That mandate went into effect Aug. 26.

“Because of that mandate regarding testing, we’ve also seen an uptick in regards toplaces that may be requiring testing for our unvaccinated population there,” said Dr. Tsang.

Health officials said this increase is a good sign, as testing allows them to track the number of positive cases

“Encouraging people to test if they have any symptoms for COVID-19 will help prevent the spread,” said Dr. Tsang. “Our recommendation is that if you have symptoms concerning COVID-19, please go get tested as soon as you can. If you don’t have symptoms, but you recently had exposure to someone positive for COVID-19, we recommend that you do go get tested,” said Dr. Tsang.

Health officials said getting tested is important, but it is not a preventative measure against the virus.

“The best prevention right now for COVID-19 is to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Tsang. 

 

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