A look at the COVID-19 testing process


ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (WFXR) — Cars filled the Pigg River Community Center parking lot and lined up along S. Main Street in Rocky Mount Tuesday morning. More than 200 people showed up for at the free, drive-thru coronavirus testing site.

Nancy Bell, who works for the Virginia Department of Health’s West Piedmont Health District, noticed the cars lining up when the medical personnel started setting up the site around 9 a.m.

Bells says those who wish to use the drive-thru testing sites should expect to sit in line.

“They’ll certainly have to wait in a line a little, because you don’t have to leave your car,” she said. “You simply roll up in your car and get your paperwork done and roll to another station.”

Once you finish filling out the paperwork, personnel will direct you to the testing station.

“Medical personnel in face shields, double gloved, are going to put a very long test strip up your nose,” Bell said. “Then they’ll put it in a tube that is unique to you.”

Medical personnel take the cotton swab and shove it to the back of your nose. Many people experience an uncomfortable tingling sensation. Once the sample is collected, it is put into a tube and sent to a lab for testing.

“If you’re positive, you’ll get a phone call that you don’t want, and a contact tracer will follow-up and ask you who you’ve been exposed to.”

Bell comments the VDH has been working hard with contact tracers, who develop a “contact list” based off the interactions a person who tested positive may have had.

The testing process itself is fairly brief. Those who are tested will usually receive results back over the course of a few days.

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