COVID-19 testing site equipped to handle hundreds.

July 17, 2020

COVID-19 testing site equipped to handle hundreds.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART – District Health Department #10 (DHD #10) is offering free drive-through community testing for COVID-19 in the Hart High School parking lot Friday, July 17, until 4 p.m.

The testing site is a collaborative effort with the Army National Guard, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, local law enforcement and emergency management, and Hart Public Schools.

Several people began lining up in their cars by 10 a.m. to get the test.

Approximately 30 DHD #10 personnel and National Guard members from the Grand Valley Armory are performing the tests in the high school parking lot.

Christy Rivette, DHD #10 community health supervisor, said a recent and similar testing site in Ludington performed 387 tests.

COVID-19 cases in Oceana County are the highest among the 10 counties in the DHD #10 jurisdiction. Oceana has 401 total positive cases, including five deaths, as of data reported Thursday, July 16. DHD #10 reports that of those 401 cases, 104 people have recovered. Newaygo County is second behind Oceana with the number of positive cases, which is 196 — less than half compared to its neighboring county. DHD#10 is the largest health department in the State of Michigan with its expansive goegraphical area.

DHD #10 officials have cited farms and manufacturing facilities as outbreak sites in Oceana County. Related story here An event at the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury at the end of June was identified by DHD #10 as an exposure site. Related story here

“We’re working very hard with the resources we have to do what we can as far as getting education and bringing testing to the public,” Rivette said. “There is a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff. We have a ton of staff working long hours. We have cases that come in all day every day. Nurses and contact tracers are working weekends and nights. We’re doing with the best we can with the resources we have.”

The Hart Police Department is assisting with traffic control, and translators are on hand for Spanish-speaking people getting the test.

A national guardsman said that the unit has been performing testing at various sites in Michigan for the past three months.

The testing is for anyone age 18 or older and is not limited to symptomatic individuals. Make sure to bring a picture ID. The site is not accepting appointments – it’s first come, first serve. The testing is not limited to Oceana residents — it’s open to all surrounding counties.

The testing is to determine current COVID-19 status — antibody testing is not offered.

Testing is nasopharyngeal swab, which is a long cotton-tipped swab inserted in the nose.

Test results will take 7-9 days. You will receive instructions for logging into BioReference Laboratories Patient Portal to obtain results. You will only be contacted by DHD#10 if your results are positive for COVID-19.

In addition to COVID-19 testing, DHD#10 is offering free Hepatitis A vaccines to interested community members during the COVID-19 testing clinic.

“Please practice prevention,” Rivette said. “Wear your mask; practice social distancing; wash your hands; use sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands immediately. That’s all we have at our disposal to prevent the spread.”

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