Tulare County offers COVID-19 testing incentive for employees to help slow spread

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Community transmission of the coronavirus is rising rapidly in Tulare County.

But officials hope their new Employee COVID-19 Testing Incentive Program will help slow the spread of virus, by allowing health officials to identify positive county workers, some of whom may be asymptomatic, and direct them to isolate at home.

"And B, to encourage our employees who are also part of the community at large to test and test often, as this is a very infectious disease that's affecting a number of people in our county, statewide, and nationally," said Tulare County Administrative Officer Jason Britt.

The program, which was modeled on a similar program in Kern County, is simple.

County employees take four COVID-19 tests at any testing site between November and December 28th, submit the verification form by January 15th, and receive a personal holiday to be used by June 30 of 2021.

To add a little more flexibility, employees are able to complete their tests during the workday.

"So it make it sort of part of their routine of work," Britt said.

With two tests done and another one coming up on Thursday, Tulare County Sheriff's Office Executive Assistant Sue Gunderman is well on her way to earning a personal holiday.

"I will be golfing," Gunderman said with a laugh. "I will go somewhere and take a full day of golf."

Increased testing may lead to improved COVID-19 statistics for Tulare County, and could impact Tulare County's ability to move into a less restrictive tier as part of the state's reopening plan.

But as one of the largest employers in the South Valley, Tulare County officials say the true motivation behind the testing incentive program is to keep its workers, their families, and the community safe.

Gunderman says she's doing it for her work family and those outside of the office.

"I also have some immune compromised people in my life and I don't want to make them sick either," she said. "I want to make sure that everybody's healthy."

Free COVID-19 testing sites in Tulare County for November and December.

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