The California Farmworker Foundation has joined a pilot project with the state of California to administer COVID-19 tests in the field for farmworkers.
On October 30th, Governor Newsom announced the opening of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Valencia Branch Laboratory, designed to add additional testing capacity will allow California to better serve schools, health care providers and hard-to-reach communities like essential workers, those in congregate settings and communities of color, who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
CDFA is part of the state team, partnering with companies and organizations like the California Farmworker Foundation to increase testing availability in agricultural communities. The pilot project, which began last month and is available to employers and employees upon request, utilizes a mobile unit to visit sites in Kern County and is being praised for the ease and efficiency of the testing process from swab to results.
The Foundation is collecting between 200-250 samples per day and is uniquely positioned to achieve this through established relations with both Ag employers and farmworkers, and an ability to reach remote working communities that may not otherwise have access to fixed COVID-19 testing sites.
Many of the individuals tested are Spanish-speaking only and may not have access to a cell phone, email/internet, or a personal vehicle, and they may be hesitant to interact with the state directly. The foundation’s pre-established relationship is essential to providing education and outreach on COVID-19 to this vulnerable population and will also help build bridges for future collaboration with the state, such as for vaccinations.
CDFA will continue to build out testing partnerships with the state lab and the food and ag community. For more information about the lab, the testing process and how to partner, please visit the Valencia Branch Laboratory website.