Free COVID testing site organized to ease strain on Martinsville hospital

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 8:25 PM EDT
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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - It’s been just over a week since the Virginia Department of Health called for more COVID site testing availability. Friday evening, a free pop-up COVID testing site allowed members of the Martinsville community to check their health, while also taking the burden off local emergency care facilities.

“We are offering a testing spot in response to a need from the hospital because people are going to the hospital for a non-emergent reason and just seeking testing,” explains Paige Bordwine, Southwest Regional Epidemiologist for the Virginia Department of Health.

Earlier this week, Martinsville patients were told the hospital was at a “dire” level, causing emergency room limitations. Officials say offering this testing is a way to reduce congestion in hospital emergency departments and help the sickest patients get the treatment they need.

“Folks are going to the cars and providing handouts on what to do while they’re waiting for their test results and what to do if they receive a positive and what to do if they receive a negative. And we’re hoping that, as we educate people more, then we can slow the spread down and take some of the demand off of our healthcare system.” adds Bordwine.

Health officials say getting tested is a key to slowing the spread of COVID in high transmission areas.

“Please, don’t go to the hospital for testing if that’s all you need. Find one of these events; there’s a number of them locally. And please, If you’re not vaccinated, consider getting your vaccine,” she says.

Testing at the Martinsville Armory will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. every Friday for as long as health officials feel is necessary.

You can see all testing site locations by visiting the Virginia Department of Health’s website.

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