Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts to offer free COVID-19 testing sites amid increased demand


Copyright: The Associated Press

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Amid a rising demand for coronavirus testing, the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts has worked with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to offer free COVID-19 testing at select locations during September and October.

In the past week, the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts have continued to see a surge in local COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, local emergency departments and urgent care centers have struggled to meet the demand for testing while trying to serve residents who need medical attention.

This comes as all counties in Virginia are currently at a high level of virus transmission, according to health officials.

“We hope that these sites will supplement the network of existing testing sites, including pharmacies and doctor’s offices, to help address the recent surge in demand for testing,” said the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts’ Nurse Manager Mary Kate Bowser, DNP.

The new drive-thru community testing sites can accommodate 100 people per event and will be held at the following locations starting this week:

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

“We have worked to provide these additional testing locations to accommodate our residents and to help our hospital emergency rooms, urgent care centers, and rescue squads focus on the care of people who are ill,” Bowser said.

The health districts say they will add more local testing sites as they secure locations, so if you want to check out an up-to-date list of all testing locations, click this link.

Even though vaccination is the most effective strategy to end the pandemic, health officials say testing is still an important tool to help identify and monitor trends in COVID-19 infection. If you fit any of the following descriptions, the VDH encourages you to get tested for the virus:

  • People with symptoms or signs of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.
  • People who have been referred for COVID-19 testing by their healthcare provider or the state/local health department.
  • Most people who have had close contact with someone known or suspected to have COVID-19.
    • Fully vaccinated people should be tested three to five days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, even if you don’t have symptoms.
    • People who are not fully vaccinated should be tested immediately after an exposure and again at five to seven days following exposure if the first test is negative.
    • People who tested positive for COVID-19 within the past three months and recovered do not need to get tested after exposure as long as they do not have symptoms.
  • People who participate in activities that are higher risk for COVID-19 exposure, such as traveling, attending large events where social distancing is not possible, or being in crowded indoor settings.
  • People who plan to travel or who have recently returned from travel, with some exceptions for fully vaccinated people.
  • People who are not fully vaccinated and who plan to visit people at high risk of developing severe COVID-19.

If you want more information about COVID-19 testing, you are asked to call (877) 829-4682 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

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