COVID-19 testing at Rady Children’s Hospital. Image from hospital video

Rady Children’s Hospital and San Diego County announced a collaborative COVID-19 testing initiative Wednesday aimed at testing up to 2,000 children and their families per day.

The COVID Collaborative for Children will provide testing for Rady’s young patients, as well as their parents and caregivers regardless of symptoms, county and Rady representatives said at a Wednesday morning news conference.

The testing is optional and will be provided during the patients’ existing appointments, according to Rady COO Nicholas Holmes. Children who appear at Rady’s urgent care or emergency care departments will also be offered the test regardless of their purpose for visiting.

“The intent is to test every patient we see, not just the high-risk patients, and provide the testing in a convenient setting,” Holmes said.

Holmes said the testing has already been implemented at its urgent care and emergency departments and would be expanded to the system’s clinics and primary care visits in the first week of June.

However, parents won’t be able to schedule appointments solely to acquire tests, he said, as testing is part of the patient’s regular visit.

Rady President and CEO Patrick Frias said the testing will also be provided for young patients and their families at other county health systems.

Holmes said the initiative would begin with about 400 tests per day before ramping up to around 2,000 daily tests.

“Widespread, continuous testing for COVID-19 is absolutely critical to protecting our public health and moving forward with this pandemic,” Holmes said.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the initiative “will help us greatly in better detecting the early cases of coronavirus positives, and then to be able to get to work tracing those close contacts, checking those individuals and properly isolating those who are positives.”

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

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