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LATEST UPDATES: Racial Justice | Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

SD County Officials Begin Coronavirus Testing In Rural Communities

A San Diego county employee explains the testing process to a person with an ...

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Above: A San Diego county employee explains the testing process to a person with an appointment at a San Diego County COVID 19 testing station by the SDCCU Stadium on May 18, 2020.

San Diego County Tuesday opened a coronavirus testing site in Julian, the first of five rural testing locations set to operate this week, in an effort to expand county testing outside urban areas, officials said.

Drive-up testing began at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Julian Library on Highway 78, county spokesman Jose Alvarez said.

CAL Fire and the San Diego County Fire Authority operated the pop-up testing site, which will move to Pine Valley on Wednesday, Valley Center on Thursday, Borrego Springs on Friday and Potrero on Saturday, according to Alvarez.

Photo credit: County of San Diego

A graphic showing where the free COVID-19 testing sites are in rural San Diego County.

CAL Fire spokesman Isaac Sanchez said the site will travel across the region's backcountry each week, with the county announcing new locations each Saturday.

As of 12 p.m. Tuesday, the Julian library tested 55 individuals for the novel coronavirus, according to Sanchez.

"Partnering to protect our communities is critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19," San Diego County Fire Authority Chief Tony Mecham said. "We are committed to working with our county health department to ensure all San Diego County residents, including those in the rural communities, are as safe as possible."

Officials advised citizens to make an appointment in advance by calling 211, although walk-up patients will be accepted. The drive-up testing sites will operate from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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