News from: Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians
Site offers easy testing to East Valley Residents
The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians has partnered with the Borrego Community Health Foundation, the City of Coachella, the Desert Healthcare District, and the County of Riverside to provide a location for a new East Valley COVID-19 testing site in the Coachella Valley. This site will provide easy testing for residents in Coachella, Thermal, and Mecca.
Starting May 1, The East Valley COVID-19 Testing Site will now provide testing for the virus Fridays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. – 11 a.m. each day of operation. Health insurance programs will cover the costs of the tests, and they will be provided free for those who do not have health coverage. Those who do not currently have health insurance will receive information and assistance signing up for programs such as Medi-Cal and CalFresh.
Testing will be by appointment only and reservations are required. To make a reservation, residents must call 1-833-624-1097. Borrego Health will be handling the scheduling and the testing for each 4-hour day. Residents who wish to be tested do not need a doctor’s referral, but Borrego Health has established a process to evaluate the need of each person based on symptom criteria. Those who qualify will be immediately scheduled to be tested. The site is located on Dillon Road, located southwest of the Spotlight 29 Casino and Hwy. 86. Specific directions to the site will be provided when testing appointments are made.
There is an overall concern about the virus and many people wish to be tested. To ensure the most efficient testing process, only people who have symptoms or have come into contact with
people known to have the virus are requested to make appointments. No one will be denied testing, but those with immediate needs will be accommodated first.
California State Assembly member Eduardo Garcia, Riverside Country Supervisor Manuel Perez, City of Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez, and Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians Tribal Chairman Darrell Mike were instrumental uniting several area partners to create this testing site. Each partner played a vital role in how the site is run and how the tests are administered.The
Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians provided the location site free of charge, created a site plan, provided the tents, personnel for public safety and traffic control, portable restrooms, generators, water, signage, and spearhead the public communications about the project. Tribal Chairman Darrell Mike was key in coordinating the Tribe’s involvement.
Borrego Community Health Foundation created the language for all testing site signage, will staff the site with appropriate medical and administrative personnel, acquired and provided the rapid testing kits, created the toll free phone number, provided staffing to answer all questions about the screening process, and created a process for screening all potential testing participants.
The City of Coachella is providing valuable community outreach and marketing support. Riverside County, under the guidance of Supervisor Manuel Perez, is providing overall support and coordination of external resources. California State Assembly member Eduardo Garcia was instrumental in establishing this coalition of partners.
“Proper testing of our community members is the most effective way of containing this virus,” said Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians Tribal Chairman Darrell Mike. “We are honored to be working so closely with our local partners to offer this easily accessible location for our East Valley residents.”
Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians has already played a philanthropic role since the pandemic started. Last month, they made several significant food donations to local food banks. This food donation continues philanthropic programs already in place with the Tribe. Last year, the Tribe donated more than $1.5 million across multiple charities with a priority on local organizations with donations to the local branch of the USO and the Boys and Girls Club of Coachella Valley to name a few.
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About the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians: The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians trace their origins back to the Chemehuevi, a peaceful and nomadic Tribe whose territory once covered parts of California, Utah, Arizona, and Southern Nevada. In 1867, a group of Chemehuevi settled at the Oasis of Mara in Twentynine Palms. The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians are their descendants. Today, the Tribe’s Reservation lands consist of two parcels, which are located near the town of Twentynine Palms and the City of Coachella. The Tribe’s two economic enterprises, Tortoise Rock Casino and Spotlight 29 Casino, help provide housing, education and financial security for the Tribe’s future generations.