From Napa Valley Register: Napa County residents can now be tested for COVID-19 at no cost

April 7, 2020 by Register Staff

Napa Valley Community Foundation has partnered with the Napa County Public Health Division to eliminate financial barriers that might prevent uninsured or underinsured residents from being tested for the COVID-19 virus.

A grant of $100,000 has been issued from the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund managed by the Foundation to the Public Health Division. The grant will pay 100% of the lab costs for any person tested for COVID-19 by the County who is uninsured, underinsured, or otherwise unable to pay the $52 lab fee.

“For our community to be safe, the Public Health Division must be able to administer COVID-19 tests to those who have a medical need for testing,” said County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Relucio.

The County pays for testing while health insurance providers, both public and private, pays for lab results. “Unfortunately, quite a few of our most vulnerable residents in Napa County, who need to be tested, have no health insurance or are underinsured.”

In order to be tested through Public Health, Napa County reports that people with fever and respiratory symptoms must have an order for lab testing placed through their doctor’s office. This means that the doctor will use a screening form to determine if COVID-19 testing is indicated. People who are symptomatic and from groups that are at higher risk for more severe disease—such as patients over 65 years of age with underlying conditions—will be considered for testing.

Relucio said that Napa County has deployed significant financial and staffing resources to combat the COVID-19 emergency, but couldn’t redirect government resources – already stretched thin by the unprecedented public health crisis – quickly enough to cover lab fees for uninsured residents. “We are very grateful to Napa Valley Community Foundation for filling this critical gap,” she said.

The Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund has provided resources for short-term relief and long-term recovery to 25,000 survivors of the 2014 South Napa Earthquake and the 2017 Napa Fire Complex. To date, across these two most recent disasters, the Fund has distributed nearly $18 million in the form of direct financial assistance to survivors, and to pay for relief and recovery services like temporary shelter, meals, medical care, counseling, legal aid, and assistance in navigating insurance claims. The Fund is managed by the Napa Valley Community Foundation and was established with a $10 million lead gift from Napa Valley Vintners following the 2014 South Napa Earthquake.

To make a tax-deductible gift to the Fund, please visit https://www.napavalleycf.org/covid-19-giving/

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