More free testing events to come

Published 11:42 am Thursday, July 2, 2020

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There is at least some possibility of Charlotte County becoming the site of a future free COVID-19 testing event for the asymptomatic, according to a Virginia Department of Health (VDH) official.

The demand exceeded the supply at one such event Saturday, June 27, at Central High School in Victoria.

David Martin

The specific goal of the Lunenburg Community Testing Event, put on by the VDH’s Piedmont Health District with the help of a commercial lab, was to offer the opportunity for free coronavirus testing for people who are not showing symptoms.

David Martin, local health emergency coordinator for the Piedmont Health District, said the lab ran out of test kits Saturday.

“So they had to break down early,” he said. “But we did 377 total.”

Originally scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the free testing event ended around 2 p.m., both because of a lack of more test kits and because the commercial lab needed to leave for another event, Martin said.

“When we started at 10, we had two lanes up to the (school’s front) door,” he said. “It was out the bus loop, down past the end of the football field down Tomlinson (Road).”

He noted event staff were able to test a carload at a time.

“We’re going to try to canvas and find other local testing opportunities for the folks that maybe didn’t get in today,” he said.

He noted the next opportunity will not be in Victoria but rather in the surrounding area, with elsewhere in Lunenburg County or Charlotte County at least being among the possible locations.

“We have to see what’s available out there and then go from there,” he said. “In this area around Lunenburg County, though, we’re going to try. Right now, at this time, I couldn’t give you a date or time. We’re going to pursue more testing opportunities.”

Saturday’s event was the Piedmont Health District’s first point-of-testing event in coordination with a commercial lab that is on a state contract to come and offer assistance, Martin said. The event involved 15 VHD staff members, and the commercial lab brought a team of eight.

“The manpower and the staffing, we are starting to get more contract folks,” Martin said. “With these contractors that are doing it, that does help.”

Martin made clear the tests administered Saturday did not provide rapid results.

“It will take 48 to 72 hours to get the results back,” he said. “At that time, the results will come back to the health department, and we’ll make notification on anyone that had a negative test and those that had a positive test also.”

For the positive test results, VDH will start a case investigation.