MediterraneanGrocery Wholesalers in Fresno, CA

Mediterranean Grocery Wholesalers Mobile Number770-795-9026

Free Estimate

We promise a 100% satisfaction guarantee

The Largest Selection of Wholesale Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products in Fresno

When it comes to trying new, exciting cuisine, few foods hit the spot like a deliciously fresh Mediterranean meal. However, we know that it can be very difficult to find authentic Mediterranean grocery wholesalers in Fresno, CA. Having lived in metro Atlanta for years, we realized that our customers needed an easy way to find quality wholesale Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food in bulk. That is why we created Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market – to give everyone a chance to enjoy tasty, healthy food, desserts, and authentic Mediterranean gifts at wholesale prices.

Founded in 2009, Nazareth Grocery has become one of Fresno’s leading international wholesale grocery stores. We are very proud to serve our customers and do everything in our power to give them the largest selection of high-quality wholesale goods available.

If you’re looking for the freshest, most delicious Middle Eastern wholesale products and ingredients, you will find them here at the best prices in the state. We encourage you to swing by our store in Marietta to see our selection for yourself. We think that you will be impressed!

The Nazareth Difference

At Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market, our mission is simple: bring you and your family the largest selection of wholesale Mediterranean products in Fresno. When coupled with our helpful, friendly staff and authentic Middle Eastern atmosphere, it’s easy to see why we are the top Middle Eastern grocery wholesaler in Fresno, CA. We’re proud to carry just about every kind of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern product that you can think of, from prepared meals and hookahs to fine seasonings and sweets. We’re here for our customers and want each one of them to have a unique, one-of-a-kind experience when they shop with us.

Our loyal customers love our selection of the following wholesale foods and gifts:

  • Fresh Breads
  • OlivesOlives
  • HummusHummus
  • CheesesCheeses
  • SaucesSauces
  • Savory-FoodsSavory Foods
  • DessertsDesserts
  • DrinksDrinks
  • HookahsHookahs
  • TobaccoTobacco
  • SaucesGifts
  • Much More!Much More!

Our Service Areas

Most Popular Wholesale Mediterranean Foods

There is so much more to Mediterranean food than pizza and pasta. The perfect climate combined with delicious foods and amazing wine makes the Mediterranean incredibly irresistible. That’s why our customers absolutely love to buy this kind of cuisine in bulk. Every country in this region has its own set of specialties and delicacies, each with its own flavors and styles of preparation.

Mediterranean countries include:

  • France
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Turkey
  • Syria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Spain

So, when it comes to the most popular wholesale Mediterranean products in Fresno,
what are we talking about?

Feta Cheese

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is a classic Mediterranean dairy product that is often enjoyed on its own, in Greek salads, on bread, or mixed with zucchini. Depending on where the feta is sourced and produced, the cheese can be made from cow, sheep, or goat milk, or even a combination of the three. Regardless of the animal it comes from, this delicious cheese is a crowd favorite.

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush

This Levantine dish is one of the most well-known Mediterranean dishes to eat in the United States. It typically comes in the form of a dip, served with pita or another kind of dipping bread. Commonly served before dinner as an appetizer of sorts, it usually features tahini, eggplant, garlic, spices, and sometimes yogurt. This tasty cuisine works great as a spread on a sandwich, or you can even eat it with a spoon, all on its own.

Baklava

Baklava

If you have never tried authentic baklava before, get ready to have your mind blown. This dessert is a traditional Mediterranean food that will have your taste buds craving more and more. Once you open a box of baklava from our Mediterranean grocery wholesaler in Fresno, CA, you won’t want to stop eating! Baklava is made with layers of thin filo dough, which is layered together, filled with chopped nuts (think pistachios), and sealed with honey or syrup. Baklava is so good that its origins are debated, leaving many wondering which country invented the dessert. Everyone from the Turks to the Greeks and even Middle Easterners hold unique takes on baklava. Try each one to discover your favorite!

Most Popular Wholesale Middle Eastern Foods

Fresh, healthy, aromatic, rich: it’s no wonder that the popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine and products has skyrocketed in the United States. This genre of cuisine features a large variety of foods, from Halvah to Labneh. If there were one common theme throughout all Middle Eastern food, it would be the bright, vibrant herbs and spices that are used. These flavorings help create rich, complex flavors that foodies fawn over. Typically, Middle Eastern food is piled high for all to eat, with enough food for an entire republic to put down.

Tabbouleh

This refreshing, healthy dish is chock-full of greens, herbs, tomatoes, and bulgur (or cracked wheat), creating a memorable, bold flavor. This dish may be eaten on its own or paired with a shawarma sandwich or helping of falafel. It’s best to buy your ingredients in bulk to make this dish because it tastes best freshly made with family around to enjoy. Just be sure to bring a toothpick to the tabbouleh party – you’re almost certain to have some leafy greens stuck in your teeth after eating.

Shawarma

Shawarma

We mentioned shawarma above, and for good reason – this dish is enjoyed by men and women around the world, and of course, right here in the U.S. Except for falafel, this might be the most popular Middle Eastern food item in history. Shawarma is kind of like a Greek gyro, with slow-roasted meat stuffed in laffa with veggies and sauce. The blend of spices and the smoky meat mix together to create a tangy, meaty flavor that you will want to keep eating for hours. For western-style shawarma, try using beef or chicken. For a more traditional meal, try using lamb from our Middle Eastern grocery distributor in Fresno, CA.

Hummus

Hummus

Traditionally used as a dip meant for fresh pita, hummus is a combo of chickpeas, garlic, and tahini, blended together until silky, smooth, and creamy. You can find hummus in just about any appetizer section of a Middle Eastern restaurant menu. That’s because it’s considered a staple of Middle Eastern food that can be enjoyed by itself, as a spread, or with fresh-baked pita bread. Hummus is also very healthy, making it a no-brainer purchase from our grocery store.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

If there’s one diet that is most well-known for its health benefits, it has got to be the Mediterranean diet. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report listed the Mediterranean diet as No. 1 on its best over diet list. This incredible diet has been cited to help with weight loss, brain health, heart health, diabetes prevention, and cancer prevention.

Whether you already love Mediterranean food or you’re looking to make some positive changes in your life, this “diet” is for you. Eating cuisine like Greek food, Persian food, Turkish food, and Italian food is healthy and tastes great. Even better than that? At Nazareth Wholesale Grocery, we have many staples of the Mediterranean diet for sale in bulk so that you can stock up on your favorites at the best prices around.

So, what exactly is the Mediterranean diet?

It is a way of eating that incorporates traditional Greek, Italian, and other Mediterranean cultures’ foods. These foods are often plant-based and make up the foundation of the diet, along with olive oil. Fish, seafood, dairy, and poultry are also included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are only eaten in moderation, not in abundance. Mediterranean food includes many forms of nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish, seeds, and more. Of course, you can find at them all at our wholesale Mediterranean grocery store!

Here are just a few of the many benefits of eating a healthy Mediterranean diet:

Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

Reduced Risk
of Heart Disease

Many studies have been conducted on this diet, many of which report that Mediterranean food is excellent for your heart. Some of the most promising evidence comes from a randomized clinical trial published in 2013. For about five years, researchers followed 7,000 men and women around the country of Spain. These people had type 2 diabetes or were at a high risk for cardiovascular disease. Participants in the study who ate an unrestricted Mediterranean diet with nuts and extra-virgin olive oil were shown to have a 30% lower risk of heart events.

Reduced Risk of Stroke for Women

Reduced Risk
of Stroke for Women

In addition to the heart-healthy benefits of a Mediterranean diet, studies have shown that eating healthy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods can reduce the chances of stroke in women. The study was conducted in the U.K., which included women between the ages of 40 and 77. Women who stuck to the Mediterranean diet showed a lower risk of having a stroke – especially women who were at high risk of having one.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

First and foremost, purchase your Mediterranean and Middle Eastern wholesale foods from Nazareth Grocery – we’re always updating our inventory! Getting started on this healthy, delicious diet is easy.

Try these tips:

Try these tips

1.

Instead of unhealthy sweets like candy and ice cream, try eating fresh fruit instead. It’s refreshing, tasty, and often packed with great vitamins and nutrients.

2.

Try eating fish twice a week, in lieu of red meat. Fish is much healthier and doesn’t have the unfortunate side effects of red meat, like inflammation.

3.

Try planning out your meals using beans, whole grains, and veggies. Don’t start with meats and sweets.

4.

They’re tasty, but try to avoid processed foods completely.

5.

Instead of using butter to flavor your food, use extra virgin olive oil instead. Olive oil contains healthy fats and tastes great too.

6.

Try to get more exercise and get out of the house. The Mediterranean lifestyle is an active one, best enjoyed in the beautiful sunshine when possible.

Why Buy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products Wholesale?

Buying wholesale and retail are quite different. When you buy products from a wholesaler, you’re essentially buying from the middleman between a retail establishment and the manufacturer. Wholesale purchases are almost always made in bulk. Because of that, buyers pay a discounted price. That’s great for normal buyers and great for business owners, who can sell those products to profit. This higher price is called the retail price, and it is what traditional customers pay when they enter a retail store.

Free Estimate

Latest News in Fresno

Michelle Obama is tweeting about Fresno, food and families. Here’s what’s happening

Former First Lady Michelle Obama announced Tuesday that thousands of Fresno-area families would receive healthy meal kits as part of her ‘Pass the Love w/ Waffles + Mochi’ healthy foods campaign in cooperation with Partnership for a Healthier America.“I’m thrilled to share that we’ll soon be distributing healthy meal kits to families in Fresno as part of our Pass the Love campaign with @PHAnews! We’re so clo...

Former First Lady Michelle Obama announced Tuesday that thousands of Fresno-area families would receive healthy meal kits as part of her ‘Pass the Love w/ Waffles + Mochihealthy foods campaign in cooperation with Partnership for a Healthier America.

“I’m thrilled to share that we’ll soon be distributing healthy meal kits to families in Fresno as part of our Pass the Love campaign with @PHAnews! We’re so close to reaching our goal of providing one million meals, but we need your support. Join us: WafflesAndMochi.org,” said Obama via Twitter. The former First Lady serves as the honorary chair of PHA.

Over the course of four weeks, PHA and local partner, Central California Food Bank, will distribute 120,000 healthy meals to food-insecure Fresno families as the campaign works to meet its goal of distributing 1 million meals across the country.

“We are grateful and honored to be chosen by Partnership for a Healthier America to join forces in educating and raising awareness about health and hunger in Central California,” said Kym Dildine, co-CEO of Central California Food Bank. “We have seen a huge spike in need in our community and this partnership with the ‘Pass the Love w/ Waffles + Mochi’ campaign could not come at a better time.”

“In Central California, one in three children are hungry,” said Natalie Caples, Co-CEO of Central California Food Bank. “This comprehensive program is going to educate families with new and innovative ways to cook nutritious foods and provide them with the meals they need to thrive.”

In Fresno County, an estimated 38% of children live in poverty, based on a 2016 analysis of U.S. Census Bureau and American Community Survey data by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The child food insecurity rate in the county is 22%, based on 2019 data from Feeding America.

Food insecurity, a long-standing problem in the central San Joaquin Valley, was exacerbated as a result of the pandemic, when many families experiences unemployment and had an even harder time accessing nutritional meals.

And while the region is famous for its multi-billion dollar agricultural industry, accessing fresh fruits and vegetables is a challenge for many residents.

According to 2016 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Fresno County only has .26 grocery stores for every 1,000 residents. Meanwhile, there are .65 fast-food restaurants for every 1,000 residents.

“We can’t just keep living in a world where we have a two-tiered (food) system, where people of means have new choices every single day...and then other people don’t even have that have access to a basic apple unless they take the bus to the grocery store,” said Nancy E. Roman, president and chief executive officer of PHA.

The ‘Pass the Love’ campaign is focused on making healthy meal preparation fun for families, in order to lay the foundation for “long-term shifts in attitudes and diet that benefit health,” said Roman.

It’s all part of PHA’s goal of “food equity” where fresh fruits and vegetables are both accessible and affordable for everyone.

The meal kits were developed by Genuine Foods, a socially-conscious food service organization, and come with nutrition-dense recipes for family meals, such as sweet potato black bean soup, vegetable enchiladas, sesame coconut noodle salad, and more.

As a next step, PHA will work with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to collect surveys and conduct focus groups with participating families in order to evaluate the impact of the ‘Pass the Love’ campaign in uplifting food-insecure families, teaching new cooking skills, and fostering healthier habits. The program will evaluate how the campaign impacts “the ease and enjoyment of cooking at home” for participating families, according to a press report.

Roman said that they are looking for local partners in the Fresno-area to pilot selling the meal kits to families at a price that competes with the price of fast food meals.

CHOP’s research will culminate in a report and set of recommendations expected later this year.

Fresno area families that are interested in picking up healthy meal kits can visit the Central California Food Bank website for details on how to sign up and details on where food distribution will take starting the week of Jan. 17.

Distributions will be coordinated by local nonprofit partners will take place at the following locations and times:

Preregistration is encouraged, but not required, and does not guarantee a meal kit once onsite. Meal kits will be distributed while supplies last.

Fresno County sets policy for ambulances amid omicron surge in overwhelmed hospitals

The spread of COVID-19’s omicron variant has Fresno County leaders weighing drastic efforts to be able to serve the sickest patients, officials said Wednesday.The county the same day began using an “assess and refer” policy when responding to medical calls to 911, according to Dan Lynch, emergency medical services director for Fresno County.That means emergency medical personnel who arrive in an ambul...

The spread of COVID-19’s omicron variant has Fresno County leaders weighing drastic efforts to be able to serve the sickest patients, officials said Wednesday.

The county the same day began using an “assess and refer” policy when responding to medical calls to 911, according to Dan Lynch, emergency medical services director for Fresno County.

That means emergency medical personnel who arrive in an ambulance following a medical call will assess a patient to see if the person truly needs to be transported or can be referred to another medical provider.

The policy change came following omicron’s surge in California and the central San Joaquin Valley. Fresno County tallied 356 people in hospital emergency rooms, including 55 in intensive care units, medical officials said.

Lynch said the ambulance policy should help hospitals cut about 15%-20% of daily calls — which can reach about 600 in a day — for service or about 16 patients a day. “It may not seem like a whole lot of patients per day but it does make a difference,” he said.

So officials also asked Wednesday that people only call 911 for help in a life- or limb-threatening emergency. Symptoms that need emergency assistance can include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, bluish lips or face, or an inability to wake or stay awake.

Officials said the omicron spread will likely continue to grow into February. Fresno County has counted 163,509 cases of the virus through Wednesday, which is 1,916 more than the previous day, according to Dr. Rais Vohra, the interim county health officer.

“They will continue to rise,” he said. “The forecast is they will rise precipitously as part of the omicron surge.”

There have been 2,404 fatal cases since the pandemic began.

Vohra said hospitals are overwhelmed. “It really does feel like things are stretched to a breaking point,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control has now approved a fourth vaccine dose for those who are immuno-compromised. The CDC also recommends a booster at five months, rather than six, since the second dose of the vaccine.

Vohra said about one in 10 hospital staffers has tested positive for COVID-19 in the Fresno County region.

Community Medical Centers reported that 717 employees are in self isolation, and 690 have tested positive for the virus.

That shortage has health officials examining plans to sooner bring back nurses and other medical staff into hospitals who have tested positive for COVID-19 but who are not showing symptoms.

“That is just a harm-reduction strategy looking at the risks and benefits and making sure that we are trying to keep our hospitals operating,” Vohra said. “Other facilities, as well, not just hospitals.”

Fresno County has 56% of its population fully vaccinated, according to Joe Prado, assistant director of the Fresno County Department of Public Health. About 60% of the county’s 12- to 17-year-olds have at least one vaccine and about 19% of those 5 to 11 have at least one.

The county expects to get 84,000 at-home test kits — each contains two tests — from the state, but that has not yet been confirmed, he said. Of those, 7,500 kits are set to go to restaurants to use on employees when necessary.

They will also be targeted at 32 ZIP codes most burdened by the virus, Prado said. The kits not already allocated can go out on a first-come first-serve basis, and a confirmation from the state could be about 48 hours away.

The county has set up a website to distribute those kits, but it is not yet live. “As soon as we have kits on hand, we will flip the switch,” he said.

To find a testing site, go to fcdph.org/covid19testing.

This story was originally published January 12, 2022 3:41 PM.

Fresno schools reopen Tuesday. What families should know about new rules and COVID tests

Thousands of Fresno Unified school students returned to class Tuesday following the winter break and were greeted with new COVID-19 safety protocols.Superintendent Bob Nelson announced changes to the district’s coronavirus safety protocols during a news conference with reporters on Monday.“Obviously, the omicron variant continues to spread in our community, but we’re excited to have our kids back and also concerned with how our schools are going to be impacted by that new variant,” Nelson said.Nel...

Thousands of Fresno Unified school students returned to class Tuesday following the winter break and were greeted with new COVID-19 safety protocols.

Superintendent Bob Nelson announced changes to the district’s coronavirus safety protocols during a news conference with reporters on Monday.

“Obviously, the omicron variant continues to spread in our community, but we’re excited to have our kids back and also concerned with how our schools are going to be impacted by that new variant,” Nelson said.

Nelson also said the district would shorten the quarantine period to five days instead of 10. The move keeps the district in step with the latest guidance from health experts.

Nelson said the district has no intention of returning to remote learning district-wide.

“Any rumor that the district may be moving to online learning is just that, a rumor,” Nelson said.

However, Nelson also said that classrooms and some schools could return to online learning.

If an individual classroom has four or more positive cases within a two-week span, it will return to remote learning, Nelson said.

“To determine if an entire school was to revert back to online learning for a period time that will be made on a case-by-case basis and a mitigation as last resort,” Nelson said.

Staffing shortages due to COVID infections emerged Monday at the Sierra Unified School District in Fresno County. The district shut down its campuses Monday and returned students to distance learning until at least Jan. 18.

Additionally, Nelson announced a new collaboration with the California Department of Health and Health Care IT.

FUSD will offer weekly testing at every school site. For students to participate in the weekly testing parents must sign a consent form.

The program is currently being piloted and parents can expect to receive consent forms within the next one to three weeks according to FUSD chief communications officer Nikki Henry.

The announcement of onsite testing may be relief for parents who expressed frustration on Monday after not receiving an at-home rapid test kit.

FUSD received about 70,000 rapid at-home test kits to be distributed to parents and staff on Friday and Monday.

Fresno schools planned to hand out the testing kits all day Friday and Monday, but supplies ran dry early Monday.

“We understand there was significant frustration for families that weren’t able to get one. We apologize we wanted to make sure that everybody had one,” Nelson said on Monday.

Several parents who spoke with The Bee’s Education Lab said they raced from school to school on Monday, only to be told the last testing kits had been distributed already.

FUSD grandparent Claudette Johnson was turned away at Edison High on Monday before striking out again at Fresno High a short time later.

“I feel kind of bad because you know the kids are getting ready to go back to school, and so I was really hoping to find one or two kits,” Johnson said.

Vour Xiong volunteered to hand out the tests Monday at Fresno High. Xiong said Fresno High was the last school to run out of tests Monday.

Parent Erika Ireland said she was glad the schools were handing out tests and said at least one of her friends managed to get what they needed, but Ireland had no luck.

“No one’s been able to get them. It’s just so frustrating,” FUSD parent Erika Ireland said.

Fresno County received approximately 160,000 testing kits last week, distributed through the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools.

Hank Gutierrez, the county’s deputy superintendent, previously told the Education Lab the tests would be distributed over the next two weeks.

Gutierrez told the Education Lab on Monday it is unclear when the next batch will arrive.

“At this time, we are unaware of when the state will send more tests. We will help as much as possible if more test kits are needed, but we are limited as well,” Gutierrez said in an email.

The tests come from a batch of nearly six million kits that Gov. Gavin Newsom planned to distribute to all schools before students returned from the winter holidays.

Scores of tests have been delayed due to the recent storms.

Delays and supply shortages have plagued schools across the nation in recent weeks.

Other local school districts like Selma Unified and Clovis Unified received their test kits earlier in December.

Selma Unified ordered 6,500 kits for its 6,200 students but only received 5,888, district officials said.

FUSD families who could not get test kits are also encouraged to get tested at one of FUSD’s testing sites: Fresno High School, McLane High School, Gaston Middle School, Roosevelt High School, and Hoover High School.

Fresno County’s Health Department also has a list of testing sites and times at www.fcdph.org/covid19testing. People without internet access can call the county’s COVID-19 information line at 888-559-2683 for help finding a testing site.

Tracy Vang said she was relieved to get the tests for her four children on Monday. She picked up the last of the kits available at Fresno High School.

“It feels really good because as a parent, you are kind of afraid of sending your kids back to school,” Vang said. “It actually feels good to see that people are picking up their tests and stuff and making sure that their kids are tested before they go back to school to make sure every kid is safe.”

Schools, parents, and health officials across Fresno have expressed concerns about children returning to school amid the rise of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

The easy transmissibility of the omicron variant has contributed to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Fresno County.

On Friday, Fresno County experienced its largest surge of new cases in almost a year, with local and state health officials reporting nearly 2,400 new infections for a two-day period.

The Education Lab is a local journalism initiative that highlights education issues critical to the advancement of the San Joaquin Valley. It is funded by donors. Learn about The Bee’s Education Lab on our website.

This story was originally published January 10, 2022 5:02 PM.

Michelle Obama Sends Love to Fresno With 100,000 Healthy Meal Kits

Former first lady Michelle Obama says an initiative she’s involved in will provide more than 100,000 nutritious meal kits to Fresno residents in need of healthy food.She made the announcement Tuesday on Twitter. I’m thrilled to share that we’ll soon be distributing healthy meal kits to families in Fresno as part of our Pass the Love campaign with @PHAnews!...

Former first lady Michelle Obama says an initiative she’s involved in will provide more than 100,000 nutritious meal kits to Fresno residents in need of healthy food.

She made the announcement Tuesday on Twitter.

I’m thrilled to share that we’ll soon be distributing healthy meal kits to families in Fresno as part of our Pass the Love campaign with @PHAnews!

We’re so close to reaching our goal of providing one million meals, but we need your support.

— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) January 11, 2022

Families might recognize Waffles and Mochi as the puppet pals who star in Netflix’s culinary children’s series of the same name alongside Obama.

Through the show, Obama started the Pass the Love campaign, which is raising funds to distribute 1 million meals to families in need nationwide, along with the nonprofit Partnership for a Healthier America.

PHA says the campaign was inspired by the series, which tells the story of two puppet friends who “travel the world exploring the wonders of food and culture while learning how to cook with fresh ingredients.”

Watch: Michelle Obama Wants to Help Feed Families with ‘Waffles + Mochi’

PHA and its local partner, Central California Food Bank, will distribute 120,000 healthy meals to food-insecure Fresno families, The Fresno Bee’s Melissa Montalvo reported on Tuesday.

“We are grateful and honored to be chosen by Partnership for a Healthier America to join forces in educating and raising awareness about health and hunger in Central California,” Kym Dildine, co-CEO of Central California Food Bank, told The Bee. “We have seen a huge spike in need in our community and this partnership with the ‘Pass the Love w/ Waffles + Mochi’ campaign could not come at a better time.”

The food distributions are designed to bolster the capacity of local nonprofits to address food insecurity. The effort began last summer in cities such as Atlanta, Cleveland, and Philadelphia.

The hope of Obama and her partners is that the meal kits — with recipes that are fun, fast, and easy to replicate — will expose families to affordable meal-making and thus improve public health.

“Meal boxes that provide fresh food and a complete set of ingredients to households are one way to reduce the impact of these (pandemic) food access disruptions, and to get healthy meals on the table,” said Caitlin Caspi, a University of Connecticut professor who studies food insecurity.

(Associated Press contributed to this story.)

COVID rapid test kits arrive for Fresno County schools. How can your family get one?

Thousands of at-home COVID-19 rapid test kits arrived Wednesday morning at a Fresno County Office of Education warehouse, from where they will be distributed to school districts across the county for families to test their children as classes resume from the winter break.Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino told reporters Wednesday afternoon that pallets of the test kits arrived earlier in the day from the ...

Thousands of at-home COVID-19 rapid test kits arrived Wednesday morning at a Fresno County Office of Education warehouse, from where they will be distributed to school districts across the county for families to test their children as classes resume from the winter break.

Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino told reporters Wednesday afternoon that pallets of the test kits arrived earlier in the day from the California Department of Public Health. About 160,000 of the kits, which can return results within about 15 minutes, were ordered by county education officials from the state last month.

Yovino said school districts will be able to pick up their allocations of the tests on Thursday and Friday so that they can be delivered to families of school-age children. Families can contact their individual school district for more information on how to get the free kits.

“The safest place right now for a child is in the classroom,” Yovino said. “We know it’s better for them not only academically, but obviously for social and emotional support, all of the things our kids desperately need.”

About 165,000 children will be returning to class next week. About 50,000 students in a few districts, including the Clovis Unified School District, returned to the classrooms this week, he added.

Using COVID-19 test kits is not a new thing for schools. “We’ve been testing all along” throughout the school year,” Yovino said. But having kits available to give to parents will address issues of families who either have been unable to find test kits amid a nationwide shortage, or to those who could not afford to buy them on their own.

“We had many calls from parents who couldn’t afford a test kit, so they kept the child out for the entire 10 days (of isolation period) and did not send them back to school because they were symptomatic,” Yovino said. “This is going to give every family in Fresno County an option to have a test kit.”

“Option” is the key word. Fresno County is not requiring that students have a negative COVID-19 test before they return to school. “If you were positive, you wouldn’t be coming back to school, but you’re not required to test in order to come back to school,” Yovino said. “It’s encouraged by the state, and that’s why they’re handing them out.”

Dr. Rais Vohra, interim health officer with the Fresno County Department of Public Health, said making the tests optional for families of students makes sense for a couple of different reasons: the limited sensitivity of the at-home kits, and the shortage of the kits in stores both locally and nationwide.

“It makes sense to use these tests if someone is symptomatic, for example, or if you’re worried they might have caught COVID because they’re a close contact to a relative or a neighbor who might have had an infection,” Vohra said. “A universal mandate (for testing) is not a solution … given the logistics, the shortage and, if you’re not symptomatic, the sensitivity of these tests is not that high compared to if you have the sniffles or sore throat or fever or any of the other symptoms of COVID.”

In some ways, Vohra added, the home kits “aren’t even answering the question, ‘Do I have COVID?’ but answering the question, ‘Am I contagious?’ That’s really what these rapid tests are designed to do.”

In Tulare County, the health department is distributing free COVID-19 test kits for families while supplies last. The Tulare County Department of Health & Human Services is offering the kits through Tulare County Fire Department stations across the county.

“We encourage parents to utilize these free rapid testing kits prior to their children returning to school and recommend all children be tested for COVID-19 the day before school starts,” said Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County’s public health officer. “Persons who test postive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, should not return to in-person learning until they have completed their quarantine period and are no longer infectious.”

The participating Tulare County fire stations are in Lindsay, Strathmore, Porterville (West Olive), Doyle Colony (Porterville), Terra Bella, Springville, Visalia, Kings River (Kingsburg), Dinuba, Cutler-Orosi, Goshen, Ivanhoe, Exeter, Lemon Cove, Three Rivers, Alpaugh, Richgrove, Tulare, Tipton, Pixley and Earlimart.

Hours for pick up at each station are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Disclaimer:

This website publishes news articles that contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The non-commercial use of these news articles for the purposes of local news reporting constitutes "Fair Use" of the copyrighted materials as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law.