COVID-19 PRESS RELEASE: RRH brings in free testing and COVID spike continues to strain hospital resources

RIDGECREST REGIONAL HOSPITAL — As COVID rates continue to surge in the community, and increasing demands on healthcare strains RRH, the hospital is bringing in a contractor to offer free COVID testing to residents.


Last week’s positivity rate soared to more than 40 percent as 332 residents (out of 826 tested at RRH) showed positive results. During that same period, drive-through testing at local pharmacies were booked up, home-test kits could not be found in local stores, and the nearest county-sponsored test site was more than an hour away.


“We saw the need in the community, and this was the most expedient way we could meet it,” said Brenda Diel, administrator of quality at RRH and incident commander for the ongoing pandemic crisis.


“This will help relieve the burden on the hospital, too. We just don’t have the capacity right now at urgent care or the emergency department to do all the necessary testing along with meeting the other critical health care needs of our residents.”


Trinity Safety Company will be on hand at 301 W. Drummond Ave. in Ridgecrest three days a week, offering up to 60 free tests each day on a first-come, first-served basis.


This week, testing will be offered from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Starting next week, testing will be offered during the same time and place on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.


Trinity will offer walk-up antigen testing, and results will be available before they leave.
The unprecedented COVID spike in Ridgecrest is mirrored in the aggregate county data posted online at https://kernpublichealth.com/covid-19_dashboard/.


Hospital staff have requested that residents continue to take appropriate precautions — vaccinate when eligible, wear masks in public, practice social distancing and good hygiene, and stay home when sick.


“We appreciate the community’s cooperation and patience,” said Diel. “We know that this crisis has been hard on everyone — including our staff. Please remember that the people who are delivering your care are doing the best they can under increasing demands, constantly changing guidance, and limited support from outside agencies.”



Amanda Diamond of RRH Liberty Ambulance at the 301 W. Drummond Ave. test site.