Grover Beach and Paso Robles are now home to SLO County's first state-sponsored COVID-19 testing sites, where up to 132 people can be tested a day.
The sites—located at the Paso Robles Veterans Hall at 240 Scott St. in Paso, and the Ramona Garden Community Center at 993 Ramona Ave. in Grover Beach—officially opened their doors on May 5 in an effort to expand the county's testing abilities.
Testing at the sites is being conducted by a private company, OptumServe, and provided for free by the California Office of Emergency Services, which offered tests to counties with previously low rates of testing.
"We were a county offered this contract because we had lower testing numbers than some other, mostly larger counties," SLO County spokesperson Michelle Shoresman wrote in an email to New Times.
Adequate testing is one of Gov. Gavin Newsom's six indicators that a county is ready to relax its coronavirus-related safety measures, Shoresman said, which SLO County has been preparing to do for weeks.
Both sites are open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. by appointment only. To be tested at one of the state-sponsored sites, a person must either be an essential worker, 65 or older, a resident or employee of a congregate care living facility, or have at least one symptom of COVID-19.
Shoresman said more than 500 tests had already been conducted at SLO County's sites as of May 6, just a day after opening.
Although Grover Beach city employees aren't working at the Ramona Garden Community Center site, City Manager Matt Bronson said some staffers helped set it up over the weekend and are on standby in case the county needs anything. Bronson said the city is happy to provide South County residents with a new place to get tested.
"This community center is ideally located in the middle of the Five Cities area with ample parking and bus accessibility and has been vacant since the start of the shelter-at-home order," Bronson wrote in an email to New Times. "We believed this was a good use of a city facility to help expand testing, which is important to the countywide reopening process."
To make an appointment at one of the county's test sites, visit emergencyslo.org/statetesting or you call (888) 634-1123. Δ