(Santa Ana, CA) – Posing the question, “Could it be COVID?” The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) this week launches a multifaceted community outreach and advertising initiative aimed at the county’s most vulnerable populations – people who can’t get COVID-19 testing from their health care providers or may not have insurance.
Partnering with community health centers who are performing FDA-approved PCR testing, the HCA launched its COVID-19 Testing Network on April 21 with five initial locations. That testing network has now grown to nearly 20 locations throughout the county – where people with symptoms can get a free PCR test – the most reliable testing available to detect current infection. In addition, four State Optum Serve test locations and more than 30 private providers now offer no-cost testing to most people recommended for testing by Public Health Services.
“We are so pleased that our community health centers have partnered with us on this extremely important work,” said Dr. Clayton Chau, Acting County Health Officer and Director of the OC Health Care Agency. “Now, we need to get the word out and make sure those test sites are fully utilized.”
Orange County residents can go to ochealthinfo.com/covidtest or call the HCA’s Health Referral Line at 1(800) 564-8448 to make an appointment at a nearby test site. Next day or, in some cases, same day appointments are available. In Orange County, testing priority is given to people with symptoms as well as asymptomatic individuals who are health care workers, first responders, social service employees, or those who are a may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Community outreach efforts to promote testing knowledge and utilization initially focused on countywide nonprofit, faith-based and social service organizations. Street teams distributed more than 45,000 flyers in eight languages – English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Farsi, Arabic, Korean, Chinese and Taiwanese and the HCA used on online platform to reach more than 40,000 parents of school children in six Orange County school districts.
The next elements of the testing campaign — marketing and advertising elements launching in June and July — include print, radio, cable TV, digital outdoor boards, check cashing sleeves, digital and social media in three languages – English, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Focusing on symptoms of COVID-19 – like cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, shaking, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell, the ads feature images of people coughing, holding their head and blowing their nose with the simple premise that you can get the answers you need with free COVID-19 testing.
“It’s so important for the County to get the word out that testing is free and convenient for people who have had limited access to COVID-19 tests until recently,” said Chairwoman Michelle Steel, 2nd District Supervisor. “With more than 20 test sites throughout the county, we are better able to keep our communities healthy and safe.”
“Making sure that all Orange County residents, especially our non-English speaking communities, have access to testing is of the utmost importance as we continue to safely reopen our businesses and work on getting our economy back on its feet,” said Vice Chairman Andrew Do, 1st District. “Since there is currently no vaccine or treatment, it is vital for everyone to take all the precautionary measures necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect our vulnerable populations.”
“It’s a worthwhile endeavor to ensure the HCA’s message is as inclusive as possible,” said Supervisor Donald P. Wagner, 3rd District. “Ten digital billboards throughout the county will rotate English, Spanish and Vietnamese messaging on where to obtain free testing. An additional mobile update will be sent to smart phones that pass by the County’s billboards.”
Supervisor Doug Chaffee, 4th District, concurs. “It is important to note testing will be done at no cost and no identification is required at the test sites. So, no one should hesitate to get the testing they may need to guide appropriate treatment and care.
Newspaper ads, radio, social media posts and web banner ads target the Spanish-speaking population. Special inserts, advertorials, print, and digital ads target Vietnamese-speaking community members.
The more we do to get the information out about COVID-19, especially to those who are most vulnerable, the safer our county will be,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, 5th District. It is so important that we use every tool at our disposal to connect with our hard-to-reach populations, so they know what options are available to them for testing.”
As Orange County’s Medi-Cal plan, CalOptima supports the HCA’s new marketing and advertising campaign because it will raise awareness about COVID-19 testing among many of its vulnerable members who speak Spanish or Vietnamese. CalOptima also appreciates the expanded access to more testing centers, which will make it easier for members to obtain a test in their area without encountering delays or transportation issues.
“CalOptima members are fully covered for COVID-19 testing at no cost,” said Richard Sanchez, Interim Chief Executive Officer. “They should not hesitate to get tested when needed, and this effort to remove barriers will make a difference in the health of our community.”
For more information and resources about COVID-19, please visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.