MARTINEZ, Calif. (KTVU) - Contra Costa County now offers free COVID-19 testing to all residents, regardless of whether they have symptoms.
The county operates five-drive through testing sites and the state provides walk-up testing at three additional locations.
Testing is available by appointment only at any of the eight locations in the county. Residents must call 1-844-421-0804 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily to book an appointment.
Public health officials believe the increased access to community testing will help reach its goal for easing social restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, tests were only offered for patients with symptoms of illness.
"We need to test many more county residents to get a better sense of how widespread COVID-19 is in our community, and to help prevent its spread," said Candace Andersen, chair of the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors. "Testing will also give us a better idea of when we can relax the current health orders."
Between 300 and 400 patients are tested daily in the county and the public health department hopes to start testing five times as many people.
All county-operated test sites offer drive-through testing by appointment only. These sites are located in Antioch, Concord, Martinez, Pittsburg, San Pablo, and San Ramon. Patients must visit these sites in their vehicles, as testing is done in the car.
Three new state-run sites opened on Wednesday in Brentwood, Pinole, and Walnut Creek, and is accepting walk-in patients by appointment only.