Starting Thursday, Coachella Valley visitors and residents with COVID-19 symptoms can make an appointment to get tested at a drive-up testing center in Indian Wells without first receiving a doctor’s approval, county public health officials announced.

Appointments can be made by calling 800-945-6171, and results normally take two to four days to come back, according to Shane Reichardt, spokesman for the Riverside University Health System.

Appointments are currently being made for Thursday and Friday, he said.

Previously, health officials required patients to first go through a heath care provider in order to receive testing at the drive-up testing center set up at Southwest Church in Indian Wells, where starting Wednesday, local health officials clad in medical gear perform nasal swabs on patients car-side.

County public health officials also tested patients and employees last week at the Rancho Mirage Health and Rehabilitation Centerk, where a patient confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19 briefly spent time, according to Jose Arballo, another county public health spokesman.

The results of that testing effort are expected to be released later Thursday, Arballo said.

A total of three deaths due to complications associated with COVID-19 had been reported in Riverside County — all in the Coachella Valley — as of Thursday morning, as well as 16 confirmed cases, which includes two people who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise liner that docked in the San Francisco Bay.

One of those passengers has since returned to the county, while another remained in Northern California for treatment, according to Arballo.

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