SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Outside the San Ysidro Port of Entry’s east pedestrian crossing, there’s a McDonald’s, a convenience store and a place to buy public transportation tickets. Soon, two blue tents will become part of the landscape.
The County of San Diego is setting up a coronavirus testing facility at the border crossing, which is the busiest in the western hemisphere.
“We thought it was important to have a test site right on the border,” said Greg Cox, the county supervisor.
The County of San Diego has seen 31,000 cases of COVID-19 so far.
Cox’s district, which covers South San Diego and the border crossing, has been the hardest hit by the virus. One factor is the proximity to the border and the constant flow of people who cross it daily.
“We have a lot of people in our county who chose to live in Mexico and the important thing is to make sure if somebody is positive we want to let them know so they can isolate,” he said. “We also have American citizens in Mexico who cross the border on a regular basis and this is another tool in our tool kit to allow us to identify people and isolate them not only for their health but also to protect the citizens of San Diego County.”
Cox said the facility will handle between 100 and 200 tests a day. Essential workers who cross the border will be encouraged to volunteer for the tests.
They will be free and no appointment will be required.
“The federal government is providing support but it will be run by the county,” Cox said.
Money for the tests will come from CARES Act funding, which provides financial support to communities affected by COVID-19.
The county hopes to have the testing facility up and running by the end of next week. As of now, the county has more than 20 similar testing sites but the closest one to the border is 2 miles away.