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COVID-19 outbreaks overwhelm local testing site

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Ojai Valley News photo by Grant Phillips 

Individuals wait in long lines for the PCR tests provided by COVID-19 testing site at Sarzotti park. 

 

Grant Phillips, Ojai Valley News reporter

Ojai Valley's Sarzotti COVID-19 testing site was overwhelmed July 14 with people seeking COVID-19 tests. Ojai has seen a 1.95% increase in 14-day case numbers, with eight new reported cases. This brings Ojai's
total COVID case count to 1,013.

The numbers result from two separate outbreaks. 

Six reported cases came from students at the Monica Ros School.

Public Health Information Officer Ashley Bautista also confirmed four reported cases from the Ojai Valley Inn over the past two weeks.

The Monica Ros campus has stayed open this week for a small number of students who were not present when the cases occurred. No current people were identified as close contacts and no new cases have been reported from the current group.

Kate Spiva, head of Monica Ros School, stated the campus is open, following county Public Health guidelines, mandating masks indoors for all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status. While there have been no decisions regarding whether or not to mandate teachers getting vaccinated, Spiva said it is something the school is continuing to evaluate.

These outbreaks occur at a time when Ventura County has contracted with a clinic to perform rapid PCR tests for the community. Those with scheduled appointments waited in long lines to receive the rapid tests July 14.

The increase in Ojai cases parallels the recent rise in Ventura County cases, where there have been 108 new cases, including 410 positive tests in the past 14 days.

PCR testing from COVID Clinic is taking place at Sarzotti park, 510 Park Road, and is available Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Free testing is provided to anyone with any of the following circumstances:

  • Individuals who are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, loss of taste or smell, nausea, or diarrhea.
  • Individuals who have had recent suspected or confirmed exposure to somebody with COVID-19.
  • Individuals who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and are now being retested for clearance of the virus.

Those eligible for testing at a fee include:

  • Testing for travel.
  • Attending events.
  • Non-medical purposes deemed medically unnecessary.

There is also the noted absence of surveillance testing coverage, which is designed to regularly test individuals as a way to mitigate a rise in cases.

As of July 14 at 3:30 p.m, Director of the Ventura County Health Care Agency Barry Zimmerman could not be reached for comment.

Additional information on updated testing qualifications can be found at:

https://vcportal.ventura.org/covid19/docs/2020-05-03_Covid19Testing.pdf

Additional COVID-19 testing is available at:

— The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy at 906 E. Ojai Avenue, which offers Rapid Antigen COVID-19 Testing as well as COVID-19 Antibody Testing.

— Ojai Community Hospital located at 1306 Maricopa Highway.

Other free testing sites in Ventura County include:

Screen Shot 2021 07 14 at 12.20.20 PM 

Additional testing venues and appointment scheduling can be found at: 

venturacountyrecovers.org as well as lhi.care/covidtesting

Vaccines are also a way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Free Vaccination sites in the Ojai Valley include:

  • Valley Oak Charter School at 907 El Centro St. Ojai on Friday, July 16 from 1p.m.-4p.m. 
  • Sunset School at 400 Sunset Avenue, Oakview on Thursday, July 22 from 12:30p.m.-6p.m.

Vaccines are also available at:

  • Medicine Shoppe: 960 E Ojai Ave. 
  • Ojai Village Pharmacy: 202 E. Ojai Ave.
  • Medical Arts Pharmacy: 1320 Maricopa Hwy.
  • Rite Aid: 11496 N Ventura Ave. 

Call ahead to confirm appointments and available doses. 

Additional vaccination sites and information can be found at: https://tinyurl.com/89h43zuf.

All the recent COVID-19 updates including new case counts can be found at: venturacountyrecovers.org

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