Fort Bragg, CA – On Saturday, November 21, Mendocino Coast Clinics (MCC) collaborated with Mendocino County Public Health to test more than 210 people for COVID-19 to determine the extent of the virus’s spread after an outbreak that was self-reported by Noyo Harbor Inn in Fort Bragg. Because surveillance testing is not currently available on the coast, many coastal residents took advantage of the opportunity to get tested, leading to the need for the Fort Bragg Police Department to provide traffic control. MCC Executive Director Lucresha Renteria thanked Fort Bragg’s finest for stepping in when needed.
She also thanked community members for their patience, as lines reached to N. Harbor Drive. “We were able to test a huge number of people, in large part because everyone remained calm and followed directions. Since this was outbreak testing, it wasn’t done by appointment, which means we had to register and test people that day and that takes a little longer,” she said.
When MCC received confirmation that Public Health was able to provide the requisite test kits and registration team, MCC joined Public Health in publicizing the event. Public Health and MCC posted information on their Facebook pages. “We only had about a day’s notice. We put it out on social media and KOZT’s Joe Regelski announced it as only he can,” Renteria said. “And, it all came together. We’ve never tested that many people in one day.”
With COVID-19 cases surging countywide, it is especially important that people continue to adhere to safety precautions such as mask-wearing and physical distancing, Renteria explained. When people test positive for COVID-19, they are required to isolate at home for 10 days or until their symptoms are resolved, whichever is longer. Members of their household must quarantine for 14 days. Since the family members are potentially never tested, the number of active cases is likely undercounted.
Renteria said, “According to a recent social media post by Fort Bragg City Council Vice-Mayor Bernie Norvell, a recent count showed that we had 17 active cases on the North Coast and another 30 potential positives quarantining in the 95437 Fort Bragg zip code. For a long time, we didn’t see many cases locally, but that’s changed.” Renteria is hopeful that with the knowledge that a vaccine is on the horizon, people will fight against COVID fatigue and maintain safe practices throughout the winter.
Although MCC is no longer providing surveillance testing for those who do not have symptoms, it is providing COVID-19 testing for symptomatic people. People with no symptoms need a PCR test. People with symptoms can receive an antigen test that checks for a protein of the virus. It is important to get the right type of test. If people are asymptomatic and they get an antigen test, they can get a false-negative result, providing a sense of security that may be appropriate.
Public Health is currently working on providing a mobile team to do COVID-19 surveillance testing throughout the county, partnering with local communities to find space where testing can take place. For the latest Mendocino County Public Health coronavirus updates, visit www.mendocinocounty.org/community/novel-coronavirus. To schedule a medical appointment at MCC, call (707) 964-1251.