In a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Congressman Kevin McCarthy announced the opening of a surge testing site at the Kern County Fairgrounds. He says the testing site will have quick results available within roughly 3 days as opposed to the usual two weeks.
23ABC's Kallyn Hobmann explains how it all came together.
"It doesn't matter who you are. If you're in the community, you need a test, we have an opportunity for you to get through," said McCarthy. "Because with public health, we want to make sure your health is top priority. And this is a way to get a handle on COVID."
McCarthy also told 23ABC that Bakersfield is the only city in California getting this kind of surge site. He said that this will alleviate the stress on local hospitals and labs.
“That gives us the ability to actually monitor and trace in a much stronger, safer, and get ahead of this COVID. We found that this has been very successful in other major cities.”
The testing site is one of the three main aspects he said are necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“I believe the first thing you need is to be able to test, be able to trace, and be able to treat.”
Admiral Brett Giroir from the White House Coronavirus Task Force said the surge site helps Kern County complete many more tests than before.
“We are planning to be there to do up to 60,000 tests," said Giroir. "That’s up to 5,000 a day and we really are there to help you and your local public health.”
Giroir said while testing is important, face masks and social distancing will make the real difference in the end.
“The most important thing is to avoid those indoor spaces, crowded spaces because we know that can really spread. Do good hand hygiene and very important for everyone to wear a mask in public. That’s the way we turn this around."
McCarthy echoed the admiral's words: “I believe we can have the testing to know where it is, get ahead of COVID, but at the same time, wear a mask, continue to wash our hands and keep a safe distance so we keep our economy open and working."
"Testing is the cornerstone for protecting our community against COVID19. When followed by isolation and contact tracing these three actions can significantly slow the spread of the disease and diminish its impact on our residents," added Matt Constantine, Kern County Public Health Services Director.
The testing site will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. through August 10th or until all 60,000 tests have been completed. Testing is free and open to anyone of any age although minors do need a legal guardian with them.
Congressman McCarthy said you can make an appointment online.
You can watch McCarthy's full press conference below: