Virginia's National Guard continues COVID-19 testing in Lexington

Published: May. 29, 2020 at 5:44 PM EDT
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As Virginia looks to reopen, coronavirus testing will become even more important. Friday, people in our hometowns got a chance to get some peace of mind, even if only for a moment in time.

It's important to look at COVID-19 through the numbers.

In Lexington Friday, the

offered an opportunity to test 300 people.

They will be added to the 24,000 tests Virginia's National Guard has already administered.

For Milly Beard, it was five seconds, and one chance to get some answers.

“People should take advantage of it," she said. "Just get it done, just do it."

Beard enthusiastically joined dozens of others at this testing site in Lexington Friday; they didn't need to put a price on a good opportunity.

"We're really trying to aim to get individuals who might not have as much access to health care, might be under insured, or uninsured as well," said Laura Lee Wight, Health Education with the Central Shenandoah Health District. "So since these tests are totally free, no proof of insurance needed, we're hoping to kinda capture that population."

For the leader of the Virginia National Guard 17-member strike team, it's an addition to the list of about 13 sites they've tested at statewide.

"I’m very proud of my unit," said Kris Clark, Officer in Charge of Strike Team 5. "They work extremely hard day after day after day. Doing this job fighting the COVID and these tests are going to be so crucial in opening up the country and Virginia so we’ll continue to do it as long as we’re told to do it.”

And the National Guard now has more money to make that happen. Title 32, federal funding for the guard, was originally set to expire in late June after 89 active days.

But some educational and retirement benefits only kick in after 90 days of active service.

After pleas from lawmakers and service members, an extension announcement came this week from Governor Northam, who directs the Guard.

But Clark said it's not the numbers that drive them here.

“We’re grateful for the extension and to continue working and helping people, but as far as benefits and things like that go, it’s not why we’re here. We’re here to help the Virginians and help our state get opened up again.”

Copyright 2020 WDBJ7. All rights reserved.

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