Drive-Thru Testing

Public health officials confirmed last week that all San Diego County drive-up testing sites for COVID-19 have now converted to appointment-only service due to long lines and public safety concerns. Walk-up testing locations, which make up most of the county’s free testing sites, were not affected by the decision. Additionally,  the testing site at Aquatica San Diego in Chula Vista has been converted to walk-up from drive-up.

The decision to switch to appointment-only was made after San Diego County decided that the highest priority for county sites is to test groups or people with symptoms of COVID-19, followed by asymptomatic people in high-risk groups or settings. 

The county’s website said this includes:

  • High-risk symptomatic individuals

  • People exposed to infected individuals in places where COVID-19 risk is high

  • Healthcare workers, first responders, other social service employees, and people in other essential jobs such as utility workers, grocery store workers, food supply workers, and other public-facing employees including childcare and school workers

  • People considered part of vulnerable populations

  • Older adults

  • People with underlying medical conditions

  • Caretakers of older adults or those with underlying medical conditions

County-run COVID-19 testing sites do not require a referral from a doctor, but it is recommended that residents first call their health care provider for a testing appointment. If residents are unable to schedule an appointment to be tested for COVID-19, they may schedule a test online at a county site, or call 211 for more information. The county testing sites provide diagnostic testing, which reveals active COVID-19 infection, public health officials said.

Test results can take up to three days to process and San Diego County contacts patients via email if the results are negative. For positive test results, patients are contacted by both email and phone. 

County health officials recommend patients follow these steps while awaiting results. 

If you haven’t received your results within four days of being tested, you can call 211 or submit a COVID-19 testing inquiry via the county’s website, here.

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