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COVID-19 Testing Center For Asylum Seekers Opens In Indio

INDIO (CBSLA) — A new testing, vaccination, and receiving center is open Monday in Indio for asylum seekers who are being brought to Riverside County by Customs and Border Protection.

The facility was opened Friday by the state and will operate seven days a week to provide COVID-19 testing for all families and people who are being dropped off by federal agents in Eastern Riverside County. Besides testing, the facility is providing medical screening, transportation to the appropriate shelter accommodations and support for travel plans to asylum sponsors, according to Riverside County officials.

"The opening of the Testing, Vaccination and Receiving Center is a great step in our coordinated response to this humanitarian need," Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez said in a statement.

The facility -- which practices strict COVID-19 safeguards and requires all staff and asylum seekers to wear personal protective equipment -- will also offer vaccinations at a later date. The county opened the center to help reduce and stop potential disease transmission.

Customs and Border Protection started dropping off asylum seekers in Riverside County in early March, according to officials. Since then, the county has received more than 2,000 individuals, approximately half of whom needed to be isolated or quarantined due to a positive COVID-19 test within their family. Test results among asylum seekers are not counted against Riverside County's ongoing coronavirus case numbers.

The facility is being funded by the state of California, and the federal government has pledged to reimburse the county's response costs.

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