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San Diego County and Mexican Consulate announce free, no appointment COVID-19 testing site

The opening at the Consulate will officially kick off a 14-day rotating program of COVID-19 testing in hard-hit communities.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2020, file photo, a healthcare worker sits at the entrance to a free COVID-19 testing site at Minute Maid Park in Houston. U.S. health officials have sparked a wave of confusion after posting guidelines that coronavirus testing is not necessary for people who have been in close contact with infected people. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The San Diego County and Mexican Consulate held a media conference Friday to announce a free, no-appointment COVID-19 testing site at the downtown Consulate every Monday, starting Sept. 14 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Mexican Consulate site will officially kick off a 14-day rotating program of COVID-19 testing in hard-hit communities, including those with larger Latino and immigrant populations. Other locations to be announced next week will be in community and faith-based organizations that are helping the County with its testing efforts.

St. Anthony's Catholic Church in National City is just one of many locations planned for the testing.

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the new site is part of the county's regional effort to expand novel coronavirus testing and outreach by working with trusted community partners and messengers.

"Opening a new COVID-19 testing program with the Consul of Mexico in San Diego is necessary for the community to feel safe and understand they can access public health services to get tested free for the coronavirus," Fletcher said. "Whether you live in South Bay, North County, or East County, you should have access to testing and resources to prevent and treat the spread of COVID-19."

Special care is being taken to ensure that those who want to get tested have a sense of trust in the system. 

 "Thanks to the county, now the Consulate can offer a security umbrella for the Mexican and Latino communities to come over with their families and get tested for free," Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, Consul General of Mexico said.    

One woman, Margarita, talked about that trust in Spanish through a translator.

"The majority of [my] community follows the rules; avoiding large crowds, cleaning, but along with following rules, they need access to finding locations to get testing done as well,"   Margarita said through a translator.

Margarita said that she, her family, and friends are well right now but she's glad that if someone does feel ill, COVID-19 testing will be available nearby.

 "Just to have that option available if they do need to get tested, it's a feeling of comfort," Margarita said.

The Mexican Consulate will be the first location to join regular two-week rotation of sites selected in partnership with community partners. 

St. Anthony's Catholic Church in National City is just one of many locations planned for the testing.  After two weeks downtown the clinic will move up to Oceanside.  

Two weeks after that. it will open in the South Bay. It will continue on a 14-day rotation schedule with additional locations to be added and announced well in advance.

The first new site at the Consulate is one of seven locations throughout the region that offer free COVID-19 tests without an appointment.

The other six sites are located at:

  1. California State University-San Marcos – Viasat Engineering Pavilion
  2. University of San Diego Parking Lot (Moving to a building on Tuesday, Sept. 15.)
  3. San Diego State University Parking Lot 17-B (Moving to the Alumni Center on Monday, Sept. 14.)
  4. Tubman-Chavez Community Center
  5. Mar Vista High School (Drive-up site)
  6. San Ysidro Port of Entry PedEast

You can view the full live stream here.