MOJAVE — Adventist Health, which operates a hospital in Tehachapi and provides some medical services in Mojave and California City, is ramping up efforts for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations in the community.
The demand for testing has increased recently with the emergence of the Delta variant, with 20 to 30 people per day coming to the Tehachapi emergency room, Adventist Health representative Josh Pierce told the Mojave Chamber of Commerce, on Thursday.
This places excess demand on the emergency room, as well as placing those getting tested at risk of exposure to COVID, he said.
To met this rising demand, they have partnered with Kern County Public Health Department to offer free testing at Monroe High School two days a week, Tuesday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The healthcare group is also forming a team to provide community COVID clinics, including mobile clinics that offer rapid, 15-minute testing and vaccinations.
“By mid-October, we should be able to do more community (vaccinations),” he said, as some booster shots have been allowed and approval for use in younger children is possible.
This means people will not have to leave their communities to get vaccinated or a rapid test.
“Our goal is to begin to serve the community of Mojave on a weekly basis,” toward the end of October, he said.
Kern County reached a peak of COVID-19 cases in mid-September, and public health officials expect cases to trend downward, with the potential of another surge in March, Pierce said.
With that in mind, the mobile clinic program is slated to run for about six months.
The group is also working to bring flu vaccine to the broader community; it is already available for those who are patients at their Mojave clinic.