(LEBANON, Virginia) — Free COVID-19 testing will be available to any Virginia resident 18 and older next week in Tazewell County.
Testing will take place on July 1 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Tazewell County Fairgrounds, 515 Fairground Road. While testing is available to all Virginian residents 18 and older, children may also be tested with guardian consent.
The Cumberland Plateau Health District is offering the testing event. Appointments are not required, but citizens are encouraged to call 276-988-5585 to pre-register to avoid waiting in line.
Patients may drive through or walk up for testing. Those who walk up should wear a cloth face covering or mask and practice physical distancing rom others. Those who drive up should keep their windows rolled up until told otherwise by testing staff.
Dr. Sue Cantrell, director of the Cumberland Plateau and Lenowisco health districts, said the health deparment has performed almost 3,000 tests across the Cumberland Health District, but increased travel means that more cases can be brought into the region.
“Testing is important epidemiologically to help us determine the extent of disease in our community,” Cantrell said in a statement.
Dr. Cantrell continued “We know that COVID-19 has been widespread across Virginia for months and the risk of transmission is present everywhere in the state and in states bordering our area. Now that testing is more readily available, everyone is encouraged to get tested, not only to assess your own condition, but to help us to better understand the nature and extent of the risk of exposure in our area.”
Cantrell continued that as many as 4 in 10 people can be infected with the novel coronavirus and never show symptoms, therefore spreading the disease and not realize it.
“Anyone can be infected and infecting others, without ever knowing it,” she said. “This is all the more reason to get tested so you know your status.
“There are many reasons people are reluctant to be tested, but the more of us that get tested, the safer we all are.”
The Cumberland Plateau Health District provided answers to some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 testing:
· “What about my privacy? If I get tested, it’ll be spread all over social media.” Test results are private records. VDH does not share them publicly.
· “We don’t have many cases. It’s a hoax, nothing to worry about.” Reputable scientific organizations and medical experts around the world have declared this to be a global pandemic. This is a scientifically proven fact. COVID-19 has been widespread with community transmission throughout Virginia for more than two months. Cases and hospitalizations are in every health district in Virginia. See the data at www.vdh.virginia.gov.
· “I haven’t gone anywhere to catch COVID-19.” The risk of exposure is everywhere. Personal precautions, including distance, hygiene and face coverings, are the best ways to protect yourself and those around you. There is no safe place. There is only safe behavior.
· “I have to build up my immune system by exposing myself to COVID-19.” This is a novel virus. It’s new, extremely infectious, no one has immunity and we do not yet fully understand how dangerous it can be. There is no vaccine, and no widely available treatment if you do get ill.
· “If I test positive. I can’t afford to stay home for several days. I will get fired.” VDH encourages employers to provide safe work environments, and accommodations for employees who are ill or concerned about the risk of exposure.