MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – On Wednesday, the Monongalia County Health Department (MCHD) held a free COVID-19 testing drive for the second week in a row at the West Virginia University Rec Center.
Dr. Lee Smith, the Executive Director of MCHD, said they would move the weekly testing date to Wednesday instead of Friday, like the initial week of testing. He said the goal is to get people tested and have results for them before the weekend to take precautions when doing things like going to church or just socializing. However, Smith said the location of the testing wouldn’t change, only perhaps the time.
“We’re going to try to do afternoon and evening hours because people are requesting that,” Smith said. “We’re still trying to figure out how to do a drive-thru because people are requesting that as well, so it’s — right now on Wednesday for the foreseeable future and we’ve had a nice turnout here again today.”
By noon, Smith said, 209 people had stopped by to get tested. In comparison, in the previous week, 490 people were tested in total, 11 came back positive: one was a Marion Co. resident, four were community members, and six were WVU students.
Smith said they were hoping to administer around 500 tests again. Explaining that he was grateful to the university for providing the Rec Center because it is a centrally located place that many people in the county have access to, allowing MCHD to have an easier time accomplishing its goal of testing as many people as possible.
“We want to ensure that we’re getting an opportunity for the maximum number of people to take advantage of this free testing in the community,” Smith said. “We still are very intent on trying to find out the amount of disease that is in the community because there are so many people that are asymptomatic. When the insurance companies pay for it they require people to be symptomatic but that’s the direction we’re not wanting to go in. We’re trying to get asymptomatic people tested so we get a better idea of what’s going on in the community.”
Smith said he was also grateful to the West Virginia National Guard for their continued efforts supporting MCHD with COVID-19 testing.
“This is our seventh community testing event and the National Guard has been with us for each and every of them,” Smith said. “We couldn’t do it without them, so we appreciate their assistance.”