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RRH Partnership With Kern County for Free COVID-19 Testing to Close

RRH Partnership With Kern County for Free COVID-19 Testing to Close

Wednesday, July 15, 2020, RIDGECREST, Calif. – Ridgecrest Regional Hospital (RRH) has announced that its free Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Services, in partnership with Kern County, will end on Thursday, July 16, 2020. The service has been running for 2 months, since May 15, in which time the hospital has tested 2,400 patients.

Newly updated testing guidance released from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on July, 14, 2020 requires a return to prioritized testing with providers reserving tests for hospitalized individuals with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and people being tested as part of the investigation and management of outbreaks, including contact tracing. The testing guidance also prioritizes individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms and individuals without symptoms who fall into high-risk categories, including people who live and work in nursing homes, homeless shelters and prisons, healthcare workers, and patients in hospitals. The new guidance will ensure that Californians who most need tests get them even if there are limited supplies.[1]

Based on the new guidance, RRH will be returning to the original COVID-19 screening and testing process, effective Monday July, 20, 2020. Patients will be required to text the word “SCREENING” to 833-RRH-4YOU (774-4968). The RRH nursing triage line will contact the patient to review the screening algorithm. If the screening criteria is met, the patient will be directed to the drive thru testing area for evaluation at an assigned appointment time.

“It’s no secret that the current results turnaround time is much longer today, than when we first embarked on this project, said RRH Clinic Administrator, Michelle Whalley. With California state testing rates increasing to over 100, 000 tests per day, an immense strain has put on the infrastructure, in particular the labs, which have struggled to keep up with the demand in terms of both results processing time and testing supplies. What’s important now is ensuring we are able to test our most critical and in-need patients.”

“For the past 2 months we have been able to offer our local residents the ability to be tested regardless of criteria and free of charge. This has been a huge factor in our accuracy and understanding of the spread of this virus in our community and a deciding factor in our city’s reopening,” said Jim Suver RRH President/CEO. “We are thankful to the county for their support in this joint venture, which has allowed us to glean better insight to the level of COVID-19 spread occurring in our service area. We need to follow the state guidance on testing and sadly close this service.”

If you feel you meet the criteria for screening, TEXT the word "SCREENING" to 833-RRH-4YOU (833-774-4968). Symptom Self Check Tools can be found at:

If your symptoms worsen including the following emergency warning signs, seek medical help immediately.

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

RRH continues to make regular updates to its dedicated COVID-19 website page at and across the hospital’s social media pages and urges the public to continue following the protective measures as recommended by Kern County Public Health:

  • If you go out for essential activities or to shop for necessities, remember to maintain at least 6 feet distance from individuals who do not live in your household.
  • Wash hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. Follow label instructions for proper disinfection.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a disposable tissue or your elbow.
  • Stay away from large gatherings and crowds both in public and in private.
  • If you are sick, stay home from work and away from other people.
  • Follow State face-covering Guidance

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