Quick, painless, easy, and best of all, free.

COVID-19 testing in Fresno ramped up in a big way Wednesday with the addition of a drive-up testing site at United Health Centers‘ Fresno location near Herndon and Milburn avenues.

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“The test was quick and painless, just a light swab in my nose. Barely felt anything.” — District 2 Fresno City Councilmember Mike Karbassi

District 2 Fresno City Councilmember Mike Karbassi helped launch the site and was first to get a test.

The test itself took little more than five minutes, and the results will be available in two or three days.

“The test was quick and painless, just a light swab in my nose. Barely felt anything,” Karbassi said. “The whole process for me took no more than 30 minutes.”

The cost of the test is completely covered.

“So, there is no cost if you have insurance. But, even if you don’t have insurance there’s no cost to you,” Karbassi said.

Explained UHC Deputy CEO Justin Preas: “The type of swabs we are now using are the nasal swabs, which are the shorter ones. Previously we were using the longer nasal pharyngeal swabs.”

COVID-19 Testing 5 Days a Week

UHC’s Milburn testing site is open five days a week. The hours: Mondays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Tuesday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 pm.

You can register ahead of time by calling 1 (800) 492-4227 and answering the pre-screening questions. Or, just drive up and fill out the forms.

“We are taking the proactive steps to help minimize the risks and taking preventative measures to protect the communities from the spread of the COVID-19 virus and expand our testing capacity to detect and avoid the virus rapid transmission in the communities and cities of the Central Valley,” Preas said.

First of Several New Testing Sites

The Milburn location is the first of UHC’s free testing sites in Fresno. Three more are set to open later at Blackstone and Olive avenues, Tuolumne Street, and Bullard and Cedar avenues.

Preas said that tests are being performed in Firebaugh and Mendota, as well. UHC hopes to offer COVID-19 antibody testing in the next couple of months.

“We can handle as many people that can come in as possible,” Preas said.

A United Health Centers’ healthcare provider takes a COVID-19 test to the parking lot. (GV Wire/Jim Jakobs)

Team Effort

Karbassi said that creating the Milburn test site was “a partnership between the city of Fresno, my council office, United Health Centers, and the County Department of Public Health.”

You can register ahead of time by calling 1 (800) 492-4227 and answering the pre-screening questions. Or, just drive up and fill out the forms.

Explained Preas: “We have health centers throughout Fresno, Kings, and Tulare counties. And, we do the COVID testing at every single one of our locations.”

UHC has tested 2,500 people since mid-March, Preas said, with about 125 people confirmed positive for COVID-19.

The turnaround time of two or three days is because the samples are sent to LabCorp for processing. Once the test is run, UCH receives the results online.

Tense Times

“Things are getting been getting pretty tense in Fresno recently,” Karbassi said, “and the concerns people have over COVID are very valid.”

Preas said that members of his staff are feeling stressed, too.

“I think there’s anxiety for everyone. There’s anxiety with our communities, there’s anxiety with our staff. It’s a very difficult time for everyone, but we’ve done a really good job of having enough protective gear protective equipment for our staff so that they’re well-protected,” he said.


5 Responses

  1. Bonnie B

    Koodos to UHC and Fresno city council! I don’t know how this is made possible but am thankful testing is available. I know it’s easier said than done, but this is a step closer to getting back to some kind of normalcy, so people just need to be patient and work with the system. Please be patient and stay alive. Thank you UHC and Fresno city council.

  2. Gigi

    Can children be tested here? Please someone let me know. At the FCC testing site they do not and have to be 13 or older.

  3. Respiratory Therapist

    If the nasal swabs arent as long, then they arent going as deep. The swab needs to go deep to maintain an accurate lab reading, thus making the test inaccurate. Bad idea.

    • Ellen

      How deep are you recommending?
      Is the goal to touch the brain?
      Or the back of the nostril?


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