County Continues to Monitor COVID-19 Variants, Offer Free Antigen Testing Kits

The County Public Health Department recently detected the Omicron BA.2 variant in San Bernardino County and is carefully monitoring its spread.

In the last 14 days, 99 percent of positive COVID-19 cases sequenced were identified as Omicron. Of those cases, about 8.5 percent were of the BA.2 variant. The BA.2 variant has accounted for about 8 percent of Omicron cases throughout March.

Overall, the County’s COVID-19 positivity rate remains below 4 percent, down from a high of 31 percent in January 2020.

Dr. Michael Sequeira, the County’s Public Health Officer, says there are two primary ways that the department monitors the occurrence and spread of COVID-19 variants.

“The first is by sequencing the virus from COVID-19 tests results,” he said. “The sequence allows us to determine which variant may have caused that person’s infection. We try to ensure that we sample positive tests from across the county to get a good picture of what variants are circulating in our community.”

The second method is wastewater surveillance, which is conducted each week by a team of epidemiologists from the Department of Public Health. 

“We were one of the first counties to support wastewater testing in the state and we are working on expanding these efforts in the coming months,” Sequiera said. “Testing allows us to estimate how much virus is circulating as well as the specific variants that are present in our communities.”

Sequeira recommended people have antigen testing kits on hand in case they are exposed or have symptoms of COVID-19.

“At-home rapid COVID-19 tests allow you to swab your own nose and get results in under 20 minutes,” Sequeira said. “They are a useful and reassuring way for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated to traverse new variants. Please take measures to protect yourself and your family by having tests ready at home for when you may need them.”  

Free over-the-counter antigen tests kits are available at the following locations:

Proof of living, working, or attending school in San Bernardino County is required for a free test kit. Parents are encouraged to bring children to receive kits for the entire family.

To learn more about COVID-19 rapid antigen tests in San Bernardino County, please visit

The federal government also announced a second round of four free tests per household are available to order through the U.S. Postal Service at

If you or someone you know has questions about COVID-19 in San Bernardino County or are interested in learning more about the free COVID-19 testing or vaccine services that may be available to you, please visit the county’s website at or call the county’s COVID-19 hotline at 909-387-3911.