SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) began distributing nearly 200,000 COVID test kits for public and charter schools Wednesday, part of around six million at-home antigen tests Gov. Gavin Newsom promised across the state on Dec. 22. Newsom said he wanted them distributed so students can test before they return to school from winter break.
Because the Office of Education has only received a partial allocation from the state, it will distribute test kits on a first-come, first-served basis to districts and charter schools. Families will be contacted by their district or school on how to receive the kits, an SDCOE statement said.
SDCOE said the kits are intended to help keep California’s kids safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools. The state will provide one to two rapid tests for every K-12 public school student as they return to school from winter break.
The Office of Education posted the following statement on their Twitter page:
"Today district and school personnel in San Diego County are picking up at-home rapid COVID tests for students from an SDCOE warehouse. Families and parents, wait to hear from your district or charter school on how to get a test; please do not come to the County Office site."
San Diego County recommended that people worried about COVID-19 infection and others seeking COVID-19 testing only go to a hospital to be tested if they have severe symptoms.
Those with mild COVID-19 symptoms should contact their health care provider via phone or telehealth for guidance.
The number of coronavirus cases continues to increase at an alarming pace in San Diego County, with the county's Health and Human Services Agency reporting 7,786 positive cases and 11 deaths in its latest data.
Tuesday's numbers increased the county's cumulative totals to 457,504 cases and 4,487 deaths since the pandemic began. The county reported 13,587 new cases of the virus on Monday.
A total of 18,903 tests were reported Tuesday, and the seven-day average positivity rate was 24.1%, up from 23.3% on Monday.
Meanwhile, the number of COVID-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals continues to climb at a pace not seen since August, according to the latest state figures. There were 717 people in the county hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, up from 682 on Tuesday, 664 on Monday, 628 on Sunday, 590 on Saturday, 510 on Friday and 475 on Thursday.
Of those patients, 141 were in intensive care, up 20 from the previous day. The number of available ICU beds increased by seven to 188.
Some COVID-positive patients may have been hospitalized for other reasons and had their COVID status discovered by hospital-mandated tests.
WATCH RELATED: COVID-19 test kits distributed at National City Library but not everyone was able to get one (Jan 4, 2022)