COVID-19 rapid testing not available at Dignity Health emergency rooms for those without symptoms


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The emergency departments at Mercy and Memorial hospitals have been flooded with people seeking rapid COVID-19 testing, which is not offered at Dignity Health Bakersfield emergency rooms unless the patient has qualifying symptoms.

“This influx of asymptomatic patients (people without symptoms) seeking rapid testing for COVID-19 is contributing to longer wait times, delays in care, higher and unnecessary emergency room bills and copayments, and difficulties in maintaining social distancing,” said a Dignity Health news release.

People who are asymptomatic or who have mild symptoms should visit their primary care physician, an urgent care facility or designated outpatient COVID-19 testing area, the release said. Those experiencing a medical emergency or more severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing and a high fever should call 911 or go to an emergency room.

Dignity Health is also urging people who have not been vaccinated to get the vaccine as quickly as possible for better protection against the virus.

For a list of COVID-19 testing sites in Kern County, click here.

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