COVID-19 Testing ...

South Bay Urgent Care recently started offering COVID-19 testing for residents in the safety of their cars.

With an increase in COVID-19 testing we have seen a rise in positive cases. Some of the latest numbers in the South Bay show Chula Vista at 1,421, National City at 480 and Imperial Beach at 135.

For the past few weeks South Bay Urgent Care on Palm Avenue has offered drive through testing for local residents which makes it safer for the medical workers. The clinic is using different labs to send the tests to depending on the patients’ insurance as well as the Health Department lab for those who are uninsured. The average time for results is 5 to 6 days.

Dr. Matt Dickson who, with his wife Dr. Kimberly Dickson, runs the clinic, said that to be designated as a testing site he worked with the Health Department to receive more personal protective equipment (PPE) with the City of Imperial Beach, the Mayor’s Task Force of which he is a part of, and San Diego Councilwoman Vivian Moreno. “Getting this process going was teamwork. There aren’t enough testing sites,” he said.

The clinic offers the COVID-19 testing without an appointment. Kimberly Dickson explained, “What is unique about our Urgent Care is that if you come at 9 a.m. or 7 p.m. you are seen without an appointment. Our staff is efficient; patients don’t wait very long.”

“We’re seeing 60 a day on the drive through side,” said Matt Dickson.

The clinic continues to see patients without COVID-19 issues. In the beginning of the pandemic the Dicksons said some patients that needed to be seen for issues like high blood pressure and diabetes were not coming into the clinic because they were afraid of the spread of the virus, but now patients are coming back for their usual needs.

“Now people feel safe because the testing is separate, not in the clinic with other COVID patients,” said Matt Dickson.

Because the initial screening and, if needed the testing, is done outside the clinic, the Dicksons have hired more staff to handle the increase in patients. “Even when the pandemic hit we didn’t close, we kept the staff. Then we raced to make everything safer,” said Kimberly Dickson.

They both want to remind everyone that the best things to do to combat the virus is to wash your hands, cover your cough, wear a mask and follow the Health Department guidelines. Because of constant changes in guidelines, they recommend for people to stay informed, because there is a lot of misinformation out there.

The labs where the tests are sent record the positive cases and send the information to the Health Department. South Bay Urgent Care records the information as well. Cases are listed by city of residence. The majority of patients coming into the clinic for testing come from South Bay, South San Diego and Coronado.

Residents who suspect they may have the virus can head over to the clinic and the screening is done in their car. Patients can do the self swabbing inside their car for increased safety. This type of testing is less invasive and reduces the risk of infection for the staff.

According to the County of San Diego website, “In San Diego County, 10% of all the people who tested positive for COVID-19 had no symptoms, which means they could have unknowingly transmitted the virus to others… Face coverings are important because they disrupt the trajectory of droplets when people cough or sneeze.”

The Center for Disease Control lists the following as symptoms of COVID-19: fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; new loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; diarrhea.

Older adults and people with underlying conditions like lung or heart disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk. Seek emergency medical attention if you have: troubled breathing, persistent pain and pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to stay awake, bluish lips or face.

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