RIVERSIDE — A Southern California county on Friday said it would offer free coronavirus testing to any resident who wants it.
Riverside County health officials said testing will be available to residents even if they don’t have symptoms of the virus. So far, the county of 2.5 million people has reported 2,100 cases of the virus and 54 residents have died.
“We’re testing people already when they’re sick, but we need to understand how COVID-19 is affecting people who may generally feel well, including kids,” Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s public health officer, said in a statement.
“That’s going to be a key indicator for understanding how it spreads and knowing where our areas of concern are when we think about if and how much to open things again.”
Until now, residents have had to have close contact with someone who was infected with the virus or symptoms to be eligible for testing, said Brooke Federico, a county spokeswoman.
Federico said she wasn’t aware of other California counties offering testing to anyone who wanted it.
The county can test about 2,200 people a day, she said. Residents must call for an appointment and can go to one of the county’s five testing sites.