The Montgomery County Public Health Task Force has now opened its first drive-thru testing, assessment and referral site at Blacksburg High School as of March 31, 2020. This action comes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to access the site and its services, it is required that one has an appointment and a letter of authorization from the Virginia Department of Health’s New River Health District.
Jason Deese, district epidemiologist for New River Health District, explains that testing is important as a means of diagnosing patients who would otherwise not receive testing in a hospital setting.
“When someone goes to a hospital for COVID-19, they must be very ill to get tested,” Deese said.
Alternatively, with the opening of the testing center, this allows more individuals to get tested, including people with lighter symptoms, people who have come in contact with confirmed cases, high risk groups such as first responders, as well as a limited number of travelers.
According to Deese, if one is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 they are urged to speak with or make an appointment in advance with their public health provider. For students at Virginia Tech this includes Schiffert Health Center.
To reduce the likelihood of contracting COVID-19, it is suggested to maintain good hygiene and continue to practice social distancing.
“Keep social mixing small and maintain appropriate distance between people.” Deese said, “but go out and exercise; we strongly recommend it.”
For more information, call the New River Health District’s COVID-19 public health call center at 540-267-8240. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. After hours, leave a message.