Demand for testing remains high
Nevada County Public Health staff stated in a news release this week that the recent spike in COVID-19 cases has led to wider public demand for testing.
“Unfortunately, this has opened the door for scammers to exploit those in need of COVID-19 tests,” they stated, explaining that federal and state agencies have recently pointed to COVID-19 testing-related scams, including fake home testing kits and testing sites.
The release clarified that there are two state-sponsored testing sites in Nevada County, at 231 Colfax Ave. in Grass Valley, and 10990 Donner Pass Road in Truckee.
Both operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The sites’ hours were expanded to this schedule earlier this month, after county officials said they had requested state resources to do so and that the sites had been operating at over 100% capacity for multiple weeks.
Regarding local test site activity, Nevada County Director of Public Health Jill Blake wrote in an email Wednesday, “Testing site utilization is still quite high, but we’ve heard it is much easier to get an appointment.”
Nevada County Public Information Officer Taylor Wolfe said in an email Wednesday that antigen/rapid tests, as opposed to PCR tests like those administered at the state-sponsored testing sites, are recommended for “testing out” of a quarantine or isolation period, according to state guidance.
Earlier this month, an order of four free at-home COVID-19 tests became available to each household, to be ordered through the U.S. Postal Service’s website — special.usps.com/testkits. According to the site, orders were to begin shipping late this month.
Regarding the program, Postmaster General and CEO Louis DeJoy said in a statement that the U.S. Postal Service was “proud to fulfill its mission of service to the nation by delivering COVID-19 test kits as part of this important public health initiative of the Biden Administration.”
In addition, at-home COVID-19 test kits have been sold by local pharmacy locations, including Walgreens and CVS in Grass Valley, although these have also been affected by supply issues at times.
Karen May, a Walgreens spokesperson, wrote in an email Tuesday that the company continues to see “high demand for testing services and products.”
She stated that the ongoing demand for these tests has led to “a critically short supply of tests nationwide, including at Walgreens.”
“We share our customers’ concerns with the current situation, as we work to secure more tests from manufacturers who are struggling to meet overall demand,” wrote May, adding that the company is managing their supply with actions such as a four-item limit per customer.
“We continue to work around the clock to secure additional (over the counter) COVID-19 tests from our vendors and to get those tests on the shelves of our CVS Pharmacy stores,” wrote CVS spokesperson Monica Prinzing in an email Tuesday. “To ensure equitable access to tests both in store and digitally, we’ve added a limit of six test kits per purchase.”
Prinzing added that, due to a recent surge in demand and efforts to ensure test availability in stores, CVS may experience temporary out-of-stocks for the tests online.
According to CVS, the company’s location at 1005 Sutton Way in Grass Valley had test kits in stock as of Wednesday.
Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at email@example.com
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Nevada County recorded 66 new COVID-19 cases on Friday making the new total 16,474. There were 140 active cases, 16,194 people released from isolation, one person hospitalized locally and 140 total deaths.