Contra Costa Health Services announced Thursday that it will begin offering COVID-19 coronavirus testing to all county residents, regardless of ability to pay or symptoms of the virus.
Contra Costa County had previously been testing only people who exhibited symptoms of the coronavirus, which include a cough, a fever, shortness of breath and a loss of taste or smell.
County health care workers are now testing an average of 300 to 400 people per day, but Contra Costa Health Services intends to raise that number five-fold.
"We need to test many more county residents to get a better sense of how widespread COVID-19 is in our community, and to help prevent its spread," county Board of Supervisors Chair Candace Andersen said. "Testing will also give us a better idea of when we can relax the current health orders."
The county offers testing at five drive-thru sites in Antioch, Concord, Martinez, Pittsburg, San Pablo and San Ramon while the state is operating three walk-up testing sites in Brentwood, Pinole and Walnut Creek.
Testing at all eight sites is by appointment only, according to the county. Residents must call (844) 421-0804 between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to make an appointment.
Residents do not need insurance to get tested and will not be charged an up-front cost for the test. People who have health insurance will have their insurance billed for the test.