Fresno City Councilmember Mike Karbassi is testing for Covid-19 Wednesday at United Health Centers in Fresno. Photo by Frank Lopez
Written by Frank Lopez
“That was it?” Fresno City Councilmember Mike Karbassi asked after receiving a nasal swab for his drive-up coronavirus test Wednesday.
Karbassi invited media to the United Health Centers facility in Fresno on Milburn Avenue to bring attention to the opportunity for this public health service.
“Opening a testing center in District 2 is a great way to help people calm and reduce their anxiety,” Karbassi said. “It’s really easy, you just drive up and get tested. I think it’s part of my responsibility as a councilmember to serve all those that are really scared.”
Today was the second day of testing for the facility in Fresno. The other 18 United Health Care Centers in Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties have already been conducting tests for a month and a half.
The testing is covered by insurance providers, and will be free to those without insurance with funding coming from the federal stimulus package.
Karbassi simply drove up to a parking spot, nurses had him fill out some paper work and took a swab of his nasal cavity.
United Health Centers partnered with the City of Fresno, Karbassi’s office and the Fresno County Department of Public Health to make the free testing available.
Justin Preas, deputy CEO of United Health Centers of the San Joaquin Valley, said that the center can handle as many people in the community that need to be tested. It’s available to anyone.
The turnaround time for results is approximately two days.
Preas said United Health Centers has tested approximately 2,500 people throughout the county since mid-March. There are a total of about 130 positive Covid-19 cases that have gone through all of the facilities combined.
“We’re expecting to be busy probably for the next two years,” Preas said. “This is definitely not going to end in the next month, and so we’ve ramped up the testing at all of our sites to be prepared for that and to handle that influx of patients. It’s not just testing, it’s also treatment for people who are diagnosed.”