ANAHEIM, CA — In an effort to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the hardest hit Orange County cities, the Orange County Board of Supervisors is making at-home testing easy and available for residents of Anaheim and Santa Ana.
Starting Monday Orange County residents in Santa Ana and Anaheim will have access to 11,000 at-home COVID-19 saliva test kits, the COVID-19 Testing Ad Hoc Committee, Vice Chairman Andrew Do and Supervisor Doug Chaffee announced.
By December, the County will have available 500,000 test kits to distribute, in person or by mail, to all county residents.
According to Vice Chairman Do, the testing is an effort in accessibility, timing and convenience.
"Orange County Health Care Agency has partnered with Ambry Genetics to bring COVID-19 testing to communities most at risk for contracting the disease,” Do said.
Starting Monday, November 23rd, residents living in Santa Ana and Anaheim will be able to register online to receive an at-home COVID-19 saliva-based test by mail or pick up one at a partnering community clinic.
Test kits will be made available to all Orange County residents in the second phase of the roll-out plan.
Through the County’s partnership with Ambry Genetics, Orange County residents will have access to 11,000 saliva-based test kits by next week, a total of 500,000 by the end of the year.
These test kits are another form of PCR test that can detect COVID-19 genetic material.
Chaffee described his feelings on the milestone opportunity.
“I’m proud to see the County of Orange expand our COVID-19 testing capabilities to include at-home testing kits,” Chaffee said. “As we make testing more accessible for our residents and encourage the wearing of masks and limiting social gatherings, I’m confident that we’ll be able to move Orange County out of the Purple Tier.”
Throughout the U.S., including counties in California, we have seen an increase in cases and hospitalizations after major holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are particularly concerning due to their close sequencing and the current ambient levels of COVID-19 in the community.
The expectation is that the spread, already at dire levels, will be amplified due to the holidays. Preventative measures like the at-home testing will help Orange County avoid or mitigate future post-holiday surges.
“This year will be a tough holiday season,” said Do. “Our traditions of large gatherings with friends and family pose several health risks. We must do our best to follow practical measures to stay safe for our own wellbeing and that of our families. We should also do this to protect our economy and the small businesses that are suffering because of the shutdowns. These at-home test kits will allow residents, who may not have easy access to testing sites, have one delivered to them in the comfort of their own home.”
Orange County residents have a variety of testing options available to them.
The Orange County Health Care Agency’s website has more information on different testing locations.
Chaffee explained the reason for wanting people to have access to the tests from the comfort of their own homes, saying: “These at-home COVID-19 tests will eliminate the need for someone who is feeling sick to go to a testing site or clinic, which in turn means that fewer people are exposed to the virus."