While most of San Bernardino County’s recent COVID-19 focus has been on launching its vaccination campaign, residents are reminded not to forget the importance of getting tested for the virus, especially in light of new, possibly more contagious variants.

“We’ve seen a notable decline in the rate of testing in recent weeks, yet the need today is as great as ever,” said County Public Health Director Corwin Porter. “This is especially true because of the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus, including one here in Southern California that appears to be responsible for a significant number of new cases.”

That new variant, called CAL.20C, was first detected last summer in Los Angeles County. It then spread in November and December during a regional surge in coronavirus cases. Although appearances of the variant have increased, scientists are still unsure whether it is more infectious or leads to more serious health complications than the original virus. Still, Porter said the County is emphasizing caution.


San Bernardino County is now in the purple tier of the State Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which allows for gatherings of up to 12 people from no more than three households (including your own).

But in advance of any such gathering, health officials strongly encourage all individuals to get tested to give everyone valuable piece of mind.

This means that if a group is planning to get together for a birthday party, or a weekend ski trip, it makes a lot of sense for everyone to take advantage of free, convenient testing in the days prior to the event so that everyone in the group can feel comfortable knowing they are safe, county officials said.

“Getting tested is especially important if you are coming in contact with people outside your immediate household,” said Porter. “Our vaccination program is expanding steadily, yet it’s still essential for everyone to remain vigilant. You absolutely do not want to be the one who spreads the virus to others -- especially when we’re making such excellent progress on vaccinations and inching closer toward herd immunity.”

Fortunately, testing is widely available, and there are numerous testing sites located throughout the county (including two in Fontana), so securing an appointment is not difficult. Testing is available to everyone (including those without symptoms), a doctor’s prescription is not required, and testing is free. Results are shared within about 48 hours.

For more information on testing, and to schedule an appointment, visit the testing section of the county's COVID-19 website: https://sbcovid19.com/testing-sites/

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