Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts open free COVID-19 testing sites this week


SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — A long line of cars could be seen from the streets of Salem on Tuesday as people waited inside their vehicles to get tested for the coronavirus at the Salem Civic Center.

“One of my co-workers actually got it and we’re just trying to take precaution with everyone else working there,” said Luke Randolph of Bedford.

Long lines of people waiting to be tested for coronavirus at the Salem Civic Center. (Photo: Evan Johnson/WFXR News)

Maria Dunn of Roanoke was also in line on Tuesday, Sept. 14. She says she feared her school-aged son has contracted the contagious illness after riding in the car with someone else who was sick.

“He had symptoms of a headache and a temperature of 100 so the school sent him home,” Dunn said.

Health officials say the positive case count continues to climb across the Commonwealth.

On Tuesday, Dr. Cynthia Morrow, director for the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, reported 957 new COVID-19 cases compared to last week in the health districts.

She also says they are seeing a continued increase in cases among the younger population, with about 25 percent of positive cases being in children under the age of 18. In addition, Dr. Morrow says that 50 percent of all cases are in people under the age of 34.

“Right now, most of our districts are in a 10 percent positivity rate, meaning that out of 10 people who get tested, one is going to test positive. Some of them are up to 16 percent,” Dr. Morrow said.

The increasing numbers seem to be what is driving more people to get tested. However, Dunn says it has not been easy for her to schedule a testing appointment.

“CVS does it by appointments and a lot of them didn’t have any slot openings,” said Dunn.

A quick search on CVS’ COVID-19 testing website Tuesday afternoon showed a minimal amount of appointments that were immediately available in the Roanoke Valley area.

Amy Thibault, senior manager for CVS’ corporate communications division, provided WFXR News with the following statement:

COVID-19 testing continues to be a critical focus for us, with more than 30 million tests administered to date.  We continue to offer free testing at nearly 5,000 locations across the country, including a recent expansion to more high-risk, underserved communities. We also currently offer four home testing products. In order to serve our customers’ OTC testing needs, and due to high demand, we’ve introduced purchase limits of (6) on and (4) at CVS Pharmacy. We’re continuing to work with our suppliers to meet customer demand.

Amy Thibault, senior manager for CVS’ corporate communications division

Health officials are encouraging people to take the appropriate steps to fight the potentially deadly virus.

“What we know about this virus is that it’s constantly outsmarting us and the only way that we will ever control it is if we all do what we need to do,” Dr. Morrow said.

Free community drive-thru testing sites will be available for the next six weeks at the following locations:

  • Salem Civic Center Parking Lot A: Tuesdays from 4 to 7 p.m.
    • Sept. 21, Sept. 28, Oct. 5, and Oct. 12
  • Dabney S Lancaster Community College: Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m.
    • Sept. 16, Sept. 30, Oct. 14, and Oct. 28
  • Fincastle Baptist Church: Mondays from 3 to 6 p.m.
    • Sept. 20, Oct. 4, and Oct. 18

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