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Zion Market offers free COVID-19 tests for Asian community

The site -- in Zion Market's parking lot -- will offer free COVID-19 tests to members of the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate partnered with local community organizations to open a new COVID-19 testing site at Zion Market on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard starting Monday.

The site -- in Zion Market's parking lot -- will offer free COVID-19 tests to members of the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday. Additional days may be added based on demand.

"With the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases, it's more important than ever to stay vigilant in protecting one's own health and the health of those around you," Cate said. "Folks shouldn't have to drive all over town to find a free COVID-19 test or pay out of pocket to get tested."

Cate is partnering with the Asian Business Association of San Diego and Broadwell Health to establish free COVID-19 testing sites across City Council District 6 in the coming weeks.

"Additionally, with the increase in fake testing sites and price-gouging of at-home COVID tests, I want to ensure San Diegans have access to reliable and free COVID-19 testing sites," Cate said. "The first free COVID- 19 test site will be available to the community starting this upcoming Monday, MLK Jr. Day, at Zion Market."

The line wasn't nearly as long as other sites throughout the county.

"I'm thankful, the more places, the less lines and hopefully they will start opening up more," said Lorenzo Bambino.

He was standing in line to get a rapid test.

“My wife - her mother got COVID, she got tested and I thought I should get tested,” said Bambino.

When his son was exposed a few weeks ago they couldn't find any appointments within a week and a rapid test was too costly.

“We ended up quarantining for 10 days because we couldn't get a test fast enough,” said Bambino.

The federal government is trying to make testing easier by purchasing 500 million at-home tests for distribution.

The self-test program started on Saturday, here's how it works for those who are insured:

If you bought a COVID test starting January 15th and onward you can be reimbursed by your insurance company for the full cost up to eight self-COVID tests per person per month.

If the pharmacy accepts your insurance information you can do it at checkout or submit a claim through your pharmacy coverage like CVS Caremark.

If you are not insured starting on Wednesday you can log onto COVIDtests.gov and order up to 4 free COVID tests per household. The test(s) will ship within seven to 12 days of ordering.

Insured can do this as well.

At the new Kearny Mesa testing site, you can take a free rapid antigen test for school, work or travel purposes and get results in 15 minutes or a free PCR test with results in one to three days.

“There are still surges all over and depending on location we have been able to narrow those down and we're doing the best we can to help the community in this time of need,” said Daniel Navarrete, Broadwell Health COO.

Broadwell Health doesn't want to run into the problem it did at MTS transit centers where some people complained of results taking longer than 10 days.

“We shuttered a lot of our MTS locations especially because of that to bring those test results down,” said Navarrete.

The Zion Market location on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard will be open for just this week, Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.

Broadwell Health says if there is a high demand at the Kearny Mesa site they may keep it open longer than a week. They do have three other potential new sites in the coming weeks.

Starting Monday, Broadwell Health will have the capacity to administer over 1,000 PCR tests a day, and will also offer a limited number of rapid antigen tests as they are made available.

"We're thankful to be partnering with Councilmember Chris Cate to set up free COVID-19 testing sites in District 6," said Jason Paguio, president and CEO of Asian Business Association of San Diego. "Creating quick and easy access to testing sites connected to AAPI businesses is a perfect example of ways we can work together to safeguard our community."

Members of the public are welcome to walk up to the COVID-19 testing site located in the parking lot of the Zion Market. Registration is not required.