Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

(Santa Ana, CA) — The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) has launched phase 2 of its at-home, saliva-based COVID-19 testing program with Ambry Genetics for all Orange County residents. 

“I am pleased that the County of Orange continues to expand access to testing, and will make 500,000 at-home test kits available to our residents by the end of the year,” said Chairwoman Michelle Steel, Second District.

The County’s phase 1 at-home test kit program began on November 23, 2020 and continued through December 6th, during which approximately 12,000 kits were made available to cities hit hardest by the pandemic — Santa Ana and Anaheim. After reviewing utilization data from the initial success of phase 1, the Orange County Board of Supervisors Testing Ad Hoc Committee recommended that the HCA make this free testing service immediately available countywide.

“The County’s at-home saliva-based COVID-19 test kits are now available to all individuals that live in Orange County – regardless of their ability to pay or their legal resident status,” said Vice Chairman Andrew Do, First District. “The OC Health Care Agency and our healthcare provider partners have stood up a robust system of in-person, drive-through, and at-home testing to ensure residents have access to testing as we try to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”

Those who live in Orange County may visit and register to receive a test kit shipped directly to their home at no cost. Ambry Genetics is able to process 4,000 tests each day with a 48 hour turnaround time for notification of results. 

“While our residents wait for the COVID-19 test results, it’s important to remember to stay home and self-isolate. Expanded testing and non-medical preventative measures like physical distancing, hand washing, and appropriate wearing of face coverings are our best bet until we have a readily available vaccine,” said Supervisor Don Wagner, Third District.

Ambry’s CARE for COVID Program was developed with the latest guidance from federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is an end-to-end screening, testing, and result-management solution. It includes:

  • Ambry’s AVA™ virtual assistant supporting an online health questionnaire
  • Online determination of essential worker status or medical necessity criteria (symptoms/exposure, etc.) that enables insurance billing or uninsured third-party billing for the test, ensuring there is no cost for the resident
  • A HIPAA compliant software that enables users to register their test kit
  • Medical provider ordered-testing and supervision (including return and review of results)
  • Viral testing by Ambry’s RT-PCR test using saliva collection for a simpler and more convenient experience than nasopharyngeal swabs commonly used by other labs
  • Most results reported directly through the CARE platform within 24 hours of receipt of the sample by the lab

“While access to the internet and a registered email address are important components of this program, we recognize that community members may need assistance to learn about other testing options that do not require these tools,” said Supervisor Doug Chaffee, Fourth District. “I encourage those residents to call the HCA’s Health Referral Line at 1 (800) 564-8448 or — or, for the hearing impaired — 1 (800) 801-7100.”

If an online order is placed for a kit by 1 p.m. Pacific Time Monday through Friday, the kit will arrive the next day. For orders placed after 1 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday, or any time on Saturday or Sunday, the kit will arrive the following Tuesday. The Ambry Genetics lab receives kits every Monday through Saturday, runs testing, and reports out test results 7 days a week.

“In our fight against COVID-19, we continue to leverage all available resources to provide convenient and reliable testing our residents,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District. “We anticipate the convenience of online test ordering and reporting, telehealth support, and at-home sample collection will provide greater support to OC residents as case counts continue to surge across the county,” she continued.

For more information, please visit

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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