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Drive-through coronavirus testing site to open at stadium in Lake Elsinore

Drivers wait in line at a drive-through coronavirus testing place at St. Jude Heritage Medical Group on March 19 in Yorba Linda.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

A drive-through facility for coronavirus testing will open at a baseball stadium in Lake Elsinore this weekend.

Testing at the Lake Elsinore Diamond stadium will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in parking lot C, Riverside County health officials announced in a news release. Those who want to be tested must have symptoms or a risk of exposure and must make an appointment by calling (800) 945-6171.

“This is going to take extreme measures, and it is our turn to step in and offer our support to ensure a coordinated and collaborative approach to best serve and protect all of Riverside County,” Lake Elsinore Mayor Brian Tisdale said in a statement. Lake Elsinore’s city manager declared a public emergency Tuesday.

There was another increase in coronavirus cases in Los Angeles on Wednesday, and officials said the numbers would continue to rise.

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The testing site is modeled after a drive-through facility for Coachella Valley residents that was set up at Southwest Church in Indian Wells starting Wednesday. Testing there is available from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Saturday, though officials are considering adding more days, said Shane Reichardt, spokesman for the county Emergency Management Department.

“It hasn’t been a rush, which has been somewhat good,” Reichardt said. “It has allowed the staff to improve their process. The first cars that came through took about 15 minutes, and now they’ve got it down to about 10 minutes.”

The testing operations are being coordinated by Riverside University Health System Public Health, which is the county’s public health department, in cooperation with local healthcare providers Desert Care Network, Desert Oasis Healthcare and Desert Healthcare District. They are staffed by a mixture of county public health officials and medical personnel from the healthcare partners.

Initially, people needed a doctor’s referral to get an appointment, but they can now call the 800 number to request one directly, Reichardt said. Still, potential patients will be asked a series of questions, and only those who fit certain criteria will receive an appointment to be tested, he said.

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The sites join a growing list of drive-through testing facilities in California, including in the Bay Area and in Orange County. To access them, people must either make an appointment or contact their doctor, who must make an appointment.

Four people have died from the coronavirus in Riverside County. Among the dead are two men and one woman from the Coachella Valley who were all older than 70. Two had underlying health problems, including the woman, who had spent time at a Rancho Mirage skilled nursing facility before she was hospitalized.

A vendor who performed work at the facility, the Rancho Mirage Health and Rehabilitation Center, also contracted the virus, and test results for 140 employees and vendors and 94 residents were continuing to come in, officials said Thursday.

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A total of 22 cases of the coronavirus had been reported in Riverside County as of 10 a.m. Friday. Thirteen of the cases were in the Coachella Valley, four were in western Riverside County and three were in the southwestern portion of the county, officials said. Four of them are believed to be associated with travel, and 18 are believed to have been locally acquired.


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