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Kaweah Health moves Visalia COVID-19 specimen collection site, unveils rapid testing

  • Category: News
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  • Written By: Laura Florez-McCusker

VISALIA – Kaweah Health has opened a new COVID-19 specimen collection site in Central Visalia and begun offering rapid COVID testing to Tulare County residents in Visalia and Exeter.

“We want to significantly improve testing in Tulare County. We may see the positivity rate decrease with increased testing,” said Gary Herbst, Chief Executive Officer of Kaweah Health.

To improve specimen collection, Kaweah Health moved its COVID-19 specimen collection site to a 2,000-square-foot building with six patient rooms that can accommodate indoor and outdoor testing at 1645 S. Court St. Since April, the site had operated on a closed city block in downtown Visalia. “The City of Visalia allowed us to use that space for the benefit of this community and for that we will always be grateful,” Herbst said.

Kaweah Health also continued its deployment of rapid COVID-19 antigen-based testing in Tulare County for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients which will provide results within 24 hours. The District first launched testing on the Quidel Sofia-2 platform, a rapid lab analyzer, at Visalia Medical Clinic in late August, but last week, Kaweah Health made the rapid testing available at its Exeter Health Clinic. In coming weeks, the rapid testing will be available at Kaweah Health's Dinuba and Lindsay health clinics, Sequoia Health & Wellness Centers, and Kaweah Health Urgent Care Centers. To get tested, people can call Kaweah Health's free COVID-19 Screening Hotline at 559-624-4110, available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“It allows us to do just a swab of the nostril. We no longer have to go deep up into the sinus cavity, so it’s much more comfortable for our patients and it’s a quick result test,” said Herbst, noting that the District purchased 20 analyzers in partnership with the Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency using CARES act funds. “While this test itself can be done in 15 minutes, we are expecting to run them in batches throughout the day. Our goal is to process everything same day so you get your results that evening or the next morning.”

On Friday, Sept. 18, Kaweah Health was caring for 28 patients with COVID-19 in its Medical Center, five of whom were in intensive care. Kaweah Health will continue to share COVID-19 information and regular updates with the community on its website at, via media statements, and on its social media accounts.