In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, Tulare County Public Health and the Tulare County Fire Department are teaming up to provide at-home COVID test kits for children returning to school from winter break.

The at-home rapid COVID test kits are now available at various county fire stations, free of charge.

COVID-19 continues to rapidly spread in Tulare County, and officials want to ensure that students are returning to school safely and COVID-free,” Tulare County Health and Human Services stated.

The COVID test kits will be available for pick-up while supplies last.

 We encourage parents to utilize these free rapid testing kits prior to their children returning to school and recommend all children be tested for COVID-19 the day before school starts,” stated Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County Public Health Officer. “Persons who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, should not return to in-person learning until they have completed their quarantine period and are no longer infectious.”

 Both the Omicron and Delta variants are present and circulating in Tulare County. These COVID variants are contagious, which is why it's important everyone continue all safety measures, including being vaccinated and receiving a booster and wearing a face covering while in any public indoor setting, the health department stated. Regular testing is also beneficial to detect asymptomatic infections and determine if a person experiencing symptoms is infected with the COVID-19 virus, the health department added.

 COVID test kits for children returning to school will be available at the following locations during the hours listed:

 Lindsay Fire Station, 19603 Ave. 228, Lindsay, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Strathmore Fire Station, 22908 Ave. 196, Strathmore, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Porterville West Olive Fire Station, 22315 Ave. 152, Porterville, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Doyle Colony Fire Station, 1551 E. Success Dr., Porterville, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Terra Bella Fire Station, 23658 Ave. 95, Terra Bella, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Springville Fire Station, 35659 Hwy. 190, Springville, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

PUSD TESTING

The Porterville Unified School District is providing free COVID-19 pop-up testing. The drive-thru rapid testing is for all PUSD students and staff.

The testing will be provided from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 6 p.m. on Friday, January 7 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, January 8 at the COVID testing site at the PUSD complex at 900 W. Pioneer Avenue near Highway 65.

All students must be accompanied by a parent to be tested. Students aren't required to be tested to return to school. For more information call the COVD Response Team, (559) 560-5960.

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