LEXINGTON, Va. – Free coronavirus tests came to Lexington on Friday morning.
The Virginia Department of Health set up a drive-thru testing site at Maury River Middle School, the first of its kind in Lexington since the pandemic began.
“We’re trying to make testing available to individuals who might not have access to healthcare," said Laura Lee Wight of the Virginia Department of Health’s Central Shenandoah District. "It’s making sure those individuals who are uninsured or underinsured can get a test.”
VDH prepared 300 tests for the drive-thru line. Anyone was eligible to undergo a test, even people who did not show any symptoms of COVID-19.
“If you had COVID-19 a few months ago, this test isn’t really going to pick that up," Wight said. "It’s going to pick up if you are infected right now.”
The Virginia National Guard administered the tests, which took about 10 seconds to perform. The National Guard has taken more than 20,000 COVID-19 tests across the state, but this is the first instance where they have performed drive-thru tests.
“Usually, the patients just sit in a chair," said Capt. Kris Clark of the Virginia National Guard. "Today, we’re leaning in the windows, which makes it a little bit of a different angle to get the test.”
It takes about a week for the test results to come back. Wight said the patients need to socially distance themselves from society until they receive their results.
“We want to make sure people understand that once they get tested, it’s important they wait for their test results and self-isolate at home while they’re waiting," Wight said. "If, in fact, they are positive, we want to make sure they’re not spreading the virus and exposing other people while they are contagious.”
Next week, the Virginia Department of Health could organize another drive-thru testing site in the Central Shenandoah Health District, which includes Rockbridge, Bath and Highland counties, as well as the city of Buena Vista.