Biweekly Briefing Articles

5 Things To Know: COVID-19 Testing Sites, Monoclonal Antibody Therapy, Behavioral Health Trailer Bills

COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO EXPANDS COVID-19 TESTING SITES: As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to increase, so too has the demand for COVID-19 testing. To help divert people from coming to emergency departments for testing and make access as convenient as possible, the County of San Diego is reopening some of its former large testing sites, including the site at San Diego State University. Additional COVID-19 testing sites and mobile sites are being added to the list of options. Primary health care providers, community health clinics, and pharmacies all continue to offer testing. To find a site near you, visit the county website at Sites & Appointments.

VACCINATING MEDI-CAL ENROLLEES: In early July, the Department of Health Care Services started publishing Medi-Cal COVID-19 vaccination data, compared with COVID-19 vaccination data for California as a whole, for people ages 12 and older. The data show marked disparities of COVID-19 vaccination rates in California, with Medi-Cal beneficiaries less likely to have received the vaccine than Californians as a whole. As enrollment has increased to nearly 900,000 enrollees in San Diego, the Healthy San Diego Medi-Cal Managed Care Plans have compiled a list of best practices to reach members and encourage them to get vaccinated.

IMPERIAL COUNTY VACCINATION RATES: The county is doing a good job of vaccinating residents, and COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths have been fairly stable lately. Now, 70% of eligible Imperial County residents are fully vaccinated and another 16% are partially vaccinated.

MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY THERAPY: For those who have recently tested positive for COVID-19, monoclonal antibody therapy could help reduce symptoms and prevent hospitalization. Early treatment for COVID-19 is available at two Monoclonal Antibody Regional Centers in San Diego County. There are three ways to refer patients as soon as possible:

The treatment is offered to those ages 12 and older with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms. There is no cost, regardless of health insurance or immigration status. More information is available in this form.

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH BILLS: Work continues in the Legislature, which has already passed several health and behavioral health trailer bills. The Legislature passed health budget trailer bill, AB/SB 133, on July 15. The main budget bill (AB 128, passed by the Legislature on June 14 and signed by the governor on June 28) outlined the Legislature’s plan to fund local public health jurisdictions, public hospitals, and implement the governor’s ambitious proposal for behavioral health infrastructure and to fund programs for children and youth aged 25 and under. The Legislature included $3 million for a local public health needs study and $300 million for public hospitals in SB 129, which was passed by the Legislature on June 28 and signed by the governor on July 12. AB/SB 133 provides additional details on the governor’s centerpiece behavioral health proposals and the state’s plan for handling the felony Incompetent to Stand Trial waitlist.