Ventura County expands COVID-19 testing as Governor Newsom allows more businesses to resume operations


Governor Gavin Newsom delivers an address via live stream to Californians regarding COVID-19 and plans on reopening the state on Monday, May 4.

By Dominic D'Amico

On May 4, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California will begin to allow certain non-essential retail businesses with low-risk workplaces to begin reopening.

Newsom elaborated that low-risk retail businesses, like florists, book stores and clothing stores, would be allowed to reopen as soon as Friday for pickup orders and related logistics. However, to reopen in this capacity, businesses must meet a set of guidelines or make modifications to fall in line with them.

Newsom stated, “On Thursday the 7th, we will put out the guidelines. If the guidelines are met and modifications are made, then people can start reopening with those modifications in these particular sectors as early as Friday.”

This news comes the day after Ventura County announced expanded testing for COVID-19.The testing will now be available free of charge at several Ventura County Ambulatory Urgent Care locations to all Ventura County residents who meet the requisite criteria.

In order to be tested, individuals must residents of Ventura County and must exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 or meet certain exposure criteria. Specifically, individuals not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested at the beginning and end of a 14-day quarantine period if they have been in close contact of a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19.

According to Ventura County Public Health, close contact ” … is defined as living or staying at the same residence, being an intimate sexual partner, staying within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes while the case is not wearing a mask, or having direct contact for any amount of time with the body fluids or secretions of the case (of COVID-19).”

Ventura County Public Information Officer Ashley Bautista elaborated on the criteria, stating that testing had previously focused on older individuals with pre-existing conditions, but the expanded criteria would allow anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to be tested.

Despite the increased availability of testing, Bautista states that the clinics involved have insufficient PPE to handle the increase of testing.

COVID-19 testing will be handled across a total of seven Ventura County Ambulatory Urgent Care Clinics for the majority of Ventura County residents. There are also two state-run sites available specifically for frontline and essential workers.

During Ventura County’s May 4 COVID-19 press conference, Ventura County Ambulatory Care CEO Dr. Theresa Cho reiterated some of the known COVID-19 symptoms and urged individuals showing those to call into the hotline.

“We know that COVID is associated with respiratory symptoms like cough or shortness of breath. We also know though that there are other symptoms of COVID like fever, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell,” Cho elaborated. “So for those in the community that might have those symptoms and who would like to be tested, we have set up a hotline for you to call … Previously we were limited, but if you do have the symptoms we do encourage you to make that phone call so that we can see if you can get tested.”

To make an appointment with a state testing location, call 1-888-634-1123, or to make an appointment with a county clinic, call the county’s Ambulatory Urgent Care sponsored testing site hotline at 805-652-7660.