Marin County COVID-19 testing site opening Monday in San Rafael

BOLINAS, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 20: A medical professional administers a coronavirus (covid-19) test at a drive thru testing location conducted by staffers from University of California, San Francisco Medical Center (UCSF) in the parking lot of the Bolin

Marin County will open a novel coronavirus testing site in the Canal neighborhood in San Rafael on Monday, officials announced.

Testing will be free and by appointment only, with priority for essential workers and people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. There will be multilingual staff available to assist with appointment booking and testing.

The testing site is a partnership between federal health services contractor OptumServe, the State of California, Marin County Public Health and community organizations.

"The state is making good on the promise to support our testing capacity," Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis said in a statement. "This site will help reach residents who've had limited access to health care and COVID-19 tests up until now. We need to match any changes to our shelter-in-place order with the ability to widely test. This is an important step in that direction."

The testing site was chosen with consideration to underserved populations and the goal of providing access to residents regardless of socioeconomic status, officials said in an announcement. Community groups are helping with outreach "to ensure residents are aware of the new testing option and support residents who may be diagnosed with COVID-19 and their families."

"This partnership with the county will provide more equitable access to testing and care," said Omar Carrera, Chief Executive Officer of the nonprofit Canal Alliance, in a statement. "Anyone who needs COVID-19 testing or medical treatment should feel comfortable to seek help and should not be fearful of the outcome. People who test positive will get the support they need during this challenging time."

The San Rafael testing site joins a county-run drive-through testing site, two mobile testing units and a new site established last week in Marin City.