A limited number of Coachella Valley visitors and residents with COVID-19 symptoms can make an appointment to get tested at a drive-up testing center in Indian Wells Thursday and Friday without first receiving a doctor's approval, county public health officials announced.
Testing is currently scheduled for Thursday and Friday during the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Public health officials could not confirm if testing would continue into next week.
Appointments can be made by calling 800-945-6171, and results normally take two to four days to come back, according to Shane Reichardt, spokesman for the Riverside University Health System.
Time slots were still available as of noon Thursday, he said. But getting through to the appointment hotline could prove to be a challenge. A reporter called the hotline and waited on hold for an hour before giving up.
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At the drive-up testing center set up at Southwest Church in Indian Wells at 44-175 Washington St., health workers clad in medical gear are performing nasal swabs on patients car-side. Each test is taking about 10 to 15 minutes to complete, according to Reichardt, who did not provide an exact number on the number of tests available.
Previously, health officials required patients to first go through a health care provider in order to receive testing at the drive-up center, which opened Wednesday.
County public health officials last week also tested patients and employees of the Rancho Mirage Health and Rehabilitation Center, where a patient confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19 briefly spent time, according to Jose Arballo, another county public health spokesman.
The results of that testing effort are expected to be released later Thursday, Arballo said.
A total of three deaths due to complications associated with COVID-19 had been reported in Riverside County — all in the Coachella Valley — as of Thursday morning, as well as 16 confirmed cases, which includes two people who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise liner that docked in the San Francisco Bay.
One of those passengers has since returned to the county, while another remained in Northern California for treatment, according to Arballo.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose and congestion.