The number of people contracting Covid-19 in Santa Cruz County has been giving pause to community health leaders, but according to statistics from the county’s Health Service Agency, the area may be in a trend of receding cases.
Since the arrival of the Delta variant, the week of July 12 constituted the most dramatic upward rise in the county’s Covid-19 case numbers. However, the most recent infection numbers seem to have plateaued, and may be on the verge of trending downward as education, social isolation and vaccination rates increase in communities.
In the San Lorenzo Valley, multiple agencies have worked tirelessly to bring the Covid-19 vaccines to where the people are, allowing pop-up vaccine clinics to serve as an alternative to busy doctors’ offices or pharmacies.
A new partnership between Community Bridges and Santa Cruz County Public Health will provide additional opportunities for free Covid-19 testing in the San Lorenzo Valley. Community Bridges, a countywide nonprofit, will be hosting a traveling testing bus at its Mountain Community Resources location in Felton for residents who desire a test.
With hospitalization trends following case trends by 2-3 weeks, it’s critical for individuals to monitor their health in order to help stop the spread of the virus. Based on that ideal, Fifth District County Supervisor Bruce McPherson was happy to request the presence of the mobile testing unit on behalf of the San Lorenzo Valley.
“I’m thrilled that we are able to open this Covid testing site in Felton under a partnership with Mountain Community Resources,” he said. “With the Delta variant of the virus causing an increase in infections, there has been a disproportionate impact in the San Lorenzo Valley, where vaccination rates are among the lowest in the county. The beauty of this project is that the testing site is mobile and could eventually move around to meet the community’s needs.”
With the bus equipped with the capability of administering 84 tests per day, local residents will have the opportunity to get a free test without leaving the area, and without an appointment.
Operations for the mobile testing bus will begin Sept. 10. The site will operate Friday-Tuesday, 10am-6pm for the foreseeable future. Testing turnaround times are highly dependent on testing volume, and volume is currently high.
Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino was equally upbeat about the mobile testing unit finding a home in the redwoods.
“Access to testing and vaccines are the two critical components required to end the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Cancino. “San Lorenzo Valley has been through a tough year. Rapid, local testing and vaccination resources will help keep kids in school, valley businesses open, and help to restore a sense of normalcy as the community continues to recover. We look forward to continuing our long history of meeting the needs of the valley.”
The San Lorenzo Valley has been heavily impacted by the lack of testing and vaccination resources in the area, and with the recent surge filling beds in local hospitals, and the impending closure of the urgent care facility in Scotts Valley, getting tested and vaccinated, health officials say, are the best ways to keep safe and lessen the strain on the medical system.
The bus will be located behind the Mountain Community Resource Center located at 6134 Highway 9 in Felton. Individuals arriving to be tested should park and approach the mobile testing unit. Anyone who may have been exposed to Covid-19 or is experiencing symptoms should not enter the center. All residents arriving for testing are asked to wear a mask outside their vehicles for the safety of others.
Additional testing sites including those offering rapid-turnaround tests are available at santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus under the “Get Tested” link. Some sites may charge a fee.
For local information on Covid-19, go to the site shown above, or call 831-454-4242 from 8am-5pm, Monday thru Friday.