Coronavirus testing in Julian on Tuesday. Courtesy HHSA

San Diego County opened a coronavirus testing site Tuesday in Julian, the first of five rural pop-up testing locations, in an effort to expand testing outside urban areas.

Drive-up testing began at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Julian Library on Highway 78, county spokesman Jose Alvarez said.

Cal Fire operated the pop-up testing site, which will move to Pine Valley on Wednesday, Valley Center on Thursday, Borrego Springs on Friday and Potrero on Saturday, according to Alvarez.

Cal Fire spokesman Isaac Sanchez said the site will travel across the region’s backcountry each week, with the county announcing new locations each Saturday.

As of 12 p.m. Tuesday, the Julian library tested 55 individuals for the novel coronavirus, according to Sanchez.

“Partnering to protect our communities is critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19,” Cal Fire San Diego Chief Tony Mecham said. “We are committed to working with our county health department to ensure all San Diego County residents, including those in the rural communities, are as safe as possible.”

Officials advised citizens to make an appointment in advance by calling 211, although walk-up patients will be accepted. The drive-up testing sites will operate from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.