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Sacramento County expected to expand to 10 community testing sites, top health official says

As the county adjusts to a national supply shortage, Dr. Peter Beilenson says a more permanent solution is on the horizon.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — It has been more difficult to get coronavirus tests in Sacramento County, largely in part because of a nationwide supply shortage.

The shortage briefly shutdown five community coronavirus clinics launched initially in specific areas of the county as a way to increase testing in disadvantaged communities which have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.

With help from the California National Guard, the closures were brief. The county announced Wednesday that four of the clinics would reopen the following week to people who'd already scheduled appointments to get tested.

But the National Guard can't stay in the county forever, and Sacramento County Public Health Director Dr. Peter Beilenson said he knows that. 

"We are swamped, we are at capacity in the community for testing now," Dr. Beilenson said.

As the county adjusts to a national supply shortage, Dr. Beilenson says a more permanent solution is on the horizon.

In the coming days, Dr. Beilenson said the county is expected to announce a new partnership that will create an additional five community testing sites across the county, bring the total to 10, county-operated clinics.

"I think we'll be ready to announce in the next couple of days that we're going to have an ongoing long-term contract with a local entity that will allow us to not only serve those five community sites but to add an additional five as well," Dr. Beilenson said.

Likely ready to roll out within the next three weeks, the county is planning to spread out to North Highlands, Rancho Cordova and other parts of the county.

"We're close to procuring enough laboratory materials so that we don't run into the problem of inadequate supply down the road,"Beilenson said. "And that will also — this is a supply large enough to serve another five community-based sites."

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Lena Howland.

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WATCH MORE: Extended Interview: Sacramento Public Health Director says more testing sites may be coming