New COVID-19 community testing locations in Patterson and Merced opened Monday.

The sites are part of a statewide initiative to establish testing sites at under-served communities, according to a news release from the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency.

Testing at both locations is by appointment only.

The testing will be conducted by OptumServe, a private health services company contracted by the state.

Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Royjindar Singh, a spokesman for the county, and Amalia Madrigal-Hernandez, a division manager for Merced County Public Health, told Mattos Newspapers that the testing is offered at no out-of-pocket expense. A fact sheet about the program indicates that OptumServe will bill the insurance company of those with insurance, while the state will pick up the cost for uninsured individuals.

The testing program is available to those without formal identification such as a driver’s license, the fact sheet indicates. Undocumented individuals and the homeless are eligible to participate.

Patterson site

People showing COVID-19 symptoms may be eligible for a test at the Patterson site, according to a press release from the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency. Singh said his understanding is that those with even slight symptoms of COVID-19 may register for a test.

He said people need not be Stanislaus County residents to register for a test at the Patterson site.

Visit lhi.care/covidtesting to sign up for a test.

“These testing sites (an additional site was also opened in Keyes through the state program) will help Stanislaus County dramatically increase testing opportunities for individuals who have limited access to COVID-19 tests up until now,” said Dr. Julie Vaishampayan, Stanislaus County public health officer. “We’re thrilled to partner with the state and OptumServe to help ensure our communities are healthy while also helping meet California’s testing goals.”

Merced site

Merced County officials announced that the Merced site is open to all residents who would like to be tested for COVID-19.

Madrigal-Hernandez said residents need not be showing symptoms to be tested.

Out-of-county residents can also access the testing site, she confirmed.

“We are grateful for the partnership with the state of California and OptumServe,” said Dr. Rebecca Nanyonjo-Kemp, director of the Merced County Department of Public Health. “With additional testing we will be able to ascertain more accurate information about the transmission of this virus, which will assist health officials in determining the best course of action to protect our community.”

Testing appointments for the Merced site may be made online at lhi.care/covidtesting or, for those without internet service, by phone at 1-888-634-1123.