COVID-19 appointment-based, drive-thru testing to continue Thursday, Friday afternoon at Blacksburg HS

Local News

Laurie Kuypers, a registered nurse, reaches into a car to take a nasopharyngeal swab from a patient at a drive-through COVID-19 coronavirus testing station for University of Washington Medicine patients Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Seattle. The appointment-only drive-through clinic began a day earlier. Health authorities in Washington reported more COVID19 deaths in the state that has been hardest hit by the outbreak. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — As part of the regional coronavirus response, the Montgomery County Public Health Task Force will continue to operate the appointment-based, drive-thru testing site at Blacksburg High School on Thursday and Friday afternoon.

Health officials say the site is closed to the public and only those with an appointment and a letter of authorization from the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) New River Health District will be allowed access to receive appropriate testing, assessment, and referral services.

“Testing is important epidemiologically and helps us determine the prevalence of disease in our community, but because capacity is limited we screen for those at highest risk. As we continue to test, we expect to have more positive cases,” says Dr. Noelle Bissell, director of the New River Health District.

“In the vast majority of cases, testing does not inform our recommendations for your medical care. The best protection for each of us comes from personal precautions, including hygiene and social distancing. That’s how YOU stay well, and how you protect those around you today, AND those you will be with tomorrow.”

VDH says additional sites may open at various times and locations if necessary, but at this time, the testing site at Blacksburg High School will continue operating on the afternoons of Thursday, April 2 and Friday, April 3 for those with appointments and previous authorization.

“These sites take the pressure off our hospital systems and first responders so that they can provide essential medical and public safety services, around the clock,” says Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson. “Instead of being tasked with assessment and transport, they can concentrate on true life-threatening medical emergencies.”

According to health officials, the Montgomery County Public Health Task Force has identified a variety of resources such as buildings, vehicles, equipment, and personnel throughout the region that can be used if necessary. In addition, VDH says the task force will continue to provide appropriate instructions and information as new recommendations for protective measures surface.

If you have any questions or think you might need testing, call the New River Health District’s COVID-19 public health call center at (540) 267-8240. Health officials say the phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

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