covid test pic

At-home, Covid tests like these, called 'rapid antigen tests,' are now available to order from the federal government and, Mono County has almost daily, day-long testing clinics for PCR tests, although there is still a several-day - or longer -  wait for results in many cases due to backlogs at the state labs. 

Mono has free test clinics most days; free, in-home tests can also now be ordered   

The demand for Covid-19 tests is still very high in Mammoth and Mono County but unlike many areas, there is enough capacity to test people and, the county offers free testing clinics almost every day of the week (in Mammoth) and on various days of the week in the rest of the county’s unincorporated communities (see below for in-county testing options) for Mono County residents. 

That said, as of press time, although there were plenty of tests and times to test, there was also still a backlog of pending results with as many as several hundred tests results still outstanding due to a bottleneck at state labs, which has triggered a three-to-seven-day wait for results at press time, due to extreme, Omicron-fueled demand for tests. 

That also said, there are some new testing options; as of this week, under a new program by the federal government, every home in the U.S. is now eligible to order four, free, at-⁠home Covid-⁠19 tests. The tests are completely free, and orders will usually ship in seven to 12 days, according to the county’s Emergency Operation Center team. These are the tests called the ‘rapid, antigen tests’ and can be done at home, with only a 15 to 30-minute wait for results. 

Here is a brief summary of all the kinds of tests available in Mono County and how to find a clinic, order a test, etc.:

WHAT TO KNOW AND HOW TO ORDER FREE AT HOME TESTS

•. These free tests are ‘rapid antigen at-home’ tests, not ‘PCR’ tests, which need to be sent out to a lab for diagnosis.

• They can be taken anywhere

• They give results within 15-30 minutes (no lab drop-off required)

• They work whether or not you have Covid-⁠19 symptoms

• They work whether or not you are up to date on your Covid-⁠19 vaccines

• They are also referred to as ‘self-tests’ or ‘over-the-counter (OTC)’ tests

When to test:

• If you begin having Covid-⁠19 symptoms, including fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or

• At least five days after you come into close contact with someone with Covid-⁠19, or

• When you’re going to gather with a group of people, especially those who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their Covid-⁠19 vaccines

• How to order: Go to https://www.covidtests.gov/

WHERE TO GET PCR TESTS IN MONO COUNTY THIS MONTH 

The state’s contracted provider, OptumServe, as well as Mono County Public Health, each provide Covid-19 testing in Mammoth and Mono County. The tests are FREE for Mono County residents. 

• OptumServe offers FREE testing in Mammoth Lakes most Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays Fridays and Saturdays at 2001 Sierra Star Pkwy from 11a.m. – 7 p.m. The team usually takes a lunch break from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. It is best to pre-register for an appointment. 

• Go to: OptumServe Pre-Registration at: https://lhi.care/covidtesting

WHERE TO FIND MONO COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH TESTING CLINICS 

Mono County Public Health offers FREE testing in Bridgeport, Lee Vining, Walker, and June Lake at various times. For the full schedule and to learn more, go to https://monocovid19-monomammoth.hub.arcgis.com and go to ‘COVID-19 Testing Information.’

• The next clinic is Jan. 31 at the Bridgeport Public Health Department (37 Emigrant Street) from 11a.m. – 1 p.m. 

• There will be more testing clinics set up in various communities in the county soon, public health said at press time. All testing is open to the public, regardless of insurance. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. Individuals on the Highway 6 corridor can call the Public Health Department at 760-924-1830 to request testing.

• How to register for Public Health testing: Go to home.color.com/covid/sign-up/start?partner=cdph082

• For questions regarding test results or other Covid-19 questions, call the Mono County Health Department at 760-924-1830, and leave a detailed message with your name, the reason for your call, and a contact phone number. You will receive a call back when your results come back from the outside lab, usually within three to five days.

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