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New River Valley gives update on COVID-19 testing

(WDBJ)
Published: Jun. 16, 2020 at 10:57 PM EDT
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We’re getting an update on coronavirus testing in the New River Valley.

Community-wide testing has moved to only once a week. The

started at three days per week at the end of March and switched to only twice a week for the past few weeks.

“We need to be available to do other things that aren’t necessarily a mass testing event,” said New River Health District Director Dr. Noelle Bissell.

While cases are expected to increase as businesses open up and testing becomes more widely available, the health department is shifting its role to partner with folks to help reduce the spread of the virus.

Bissell said they have partnered with nursing facilities and helped folks get fit-tested for N95 masks. She said they want to be available for prevention and control looking forward because there will eventually be another pandemic.

“You’re never going to have no risk, there’s always going to be some risk, so you have to look at risk mitigation not elimination,” Bissell said.

Social lives might look a little different now, but the health district director says we need to learn how to live with COVID-19 until a vaccine is ready. Bissell said to think of face coverings as a precaution you take to help protect your community.

“It doesn’t really have to be that much of an inconvenience in our lives as what some people I think feel it is, it’s just a change,” Bissell said. “When people come together and do that, you can make really good things happen.”

The New River Health District is working with area schools to help them put best practices in place as students return this fall.

“We’re active in trying to get people the resources and equipment that they need to start getting back into providing the services that are so critical,” Bissell said.

Over 4,500 people have been tested in the New River Valley. Bissell said about 3,500 of those have been done at the mobile drive-thru sites.

Although community testing will only be once a week, the unit will move around to the various locations around the NRV.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ7. All rights reserved.

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