Testing their limits: As pandemic spreads, Lodi testing sites see numbers soar

Dr. Billie-Jean Martin conducts a COVID-19 test on Friday in the parking lot of the San Miguel Supermarket in Lodi. Adventist Health partnered with Community Medical Centers, Carbon Health and El Concilio to provide free testing. The event drew hundreds of people.

A popular Downtown Lodi restaurant has been closed temporarily after one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Porters Pub announced on its Facebook page late Thursday it has closed as a precautionary measure so its staff can tested.

The restaurant, owned by brothers Shae and Scott Porter, said the employee was a kitchen staff member who had very limited exposure to customers.

“The one good thing about all this is we have had strict sterilization procedures in place throughout all of this,” the restaurant posted. “We wipe every surface after customs use anything, as well as the tables and chairs. We are constantly cleaning surfaces to ensure the safety of our guests. Our sanitizers are the best on the market and actually say the kill the coronavirus.”

The restaurant said all of its employees would be tested Friday, and customers would be kept abreast of results. However, the restaurant said laboratories are backlogged with the influx of tests being administered, so it may be as long as five days before results are disclosed.

Jeff Hood, spokesman for the City of Lodi, said he had heard test results could take as many as seven days to turnaround due to the increase in testing.

As an example, the OptumServe community testing site at the Lodi Public Library has been at or above testing capacity for the last couple of weeks, he said.

“For the week ending on June 26, the lab administered 765 tests in a five-day period,” he said. “They’re goal has been an 85% appointment time, and they’re well over that. It’s been a great success as far as community utilization of that site.”

Brooke McCollough, operations executive at Adventist Health Lodi Memorial’s COVID-19 command center, said the hospital is testing around 300 people a day for the virus.

“We’re having to send out tests to other facilities in the county that can meet capacity, because we’ve reached our capacity,” she said. “The machines we use can only run so many tests a day, so we have send some to St. Joseph’s or the county.”

McCollogh said test results at Lodi Memorial still take between three and four days, but that is because staff is prioritizing those who are sick or showing the symptoms of COVID-19.

Tests for those who are asymptomatic could possibly take as much as a week, she said, because those are the ones being sent to other hospitals.

Adventist Health partnered with Community Medical Centers, Carbon Health and El Concilio to provide free testing at the San Miguel Supermarket on Friday, where some 600 were waiting to be screened at 6 a.m., according to Lodi Memorial chief medical officer, Dr. Patricia Iris.

By 3 p.m., some 350 tests had been taken, and with 125 kits left at that time, Iris said it did not appear that she and representatives from the other organizations would be staying until 7 p.m. as initially planned.

“We’re collecting names of people who couldn’t get tested, and we’ll have another event, but it will be by appointment,” Iris said. “This is really incredible, and it shows there’s an absolute need for more testing.”

Despite not being able to test everyone who showed up, Iris said the event was a success and beyond what she ever could have imagined.

“I’ve had many people say that they think they were around someone who had (COVID-19) so they wanted to get tested but have been able to do so,” she said. “This does show that people are doing what they can because they want to prevent the spread of the virus. I’m very happy to see people come and do what they can to get tested.”

Porters Pub was the second Lodi business within the last month to acknowledge an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

An employee at Pacific Coast Producers tested positive for the virus on June 14 after being our sick the previous week, company officials said.

The employee worked at the company’s distribution center on Guild Avenue, and officials determined two other workers may have been exposed. They were told to isolate for about 10 days, the company said.

A student at St. Peter Lutheran School tested positive last week, and staff cut its summer school session short by two days.

Officials at the school said no other families have reported seeing COVID-19 symptoms in their children, and the student who tested positive seemed to be doing well during self-isolation.

While it did not confirm an employee had tested positive for COVID-19, El Pazcifico Mexican Grill closed last week as a precaution after the worker showed symptoms of the virus.

The restaurant posted on its Facebook page On June 22 that an employee was sent home the day prior and the rest of its staff would be tested.

On June 30, the restaurant posted that its employees had almost completed their testing for the virus, and that once results were known, it would decide whether to reopen or not.

Porters Pub’s announcement comes as San Joaquin County Public Health Services reports that 4,474 residents have tested positive for, and 55 have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

There have been 371 cases in within the Lodi city limits, according to the COVID-19 dashboard online at www.sjcphs.org, with 301 confirmed cases in the 95240 zip code, which includes unincorporated areas of the county, and 106 in the 95242 zip code, which includes Woodbridge and Acampo.

According to the COVID-19 hospitals dashboard at covid19.ca.gov/data-and-tools, there are 151 residents currently being treated for the virus in hospitals across San Joaquin County, with 32 at Adventist Health Lodi Memorial. There are 37 residents currently being treated in intensive care units, five of which are at Lodi Memorial.

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