DRIVE THROUGHS AND DRIVE UPS
The COVID-19 surveillance testing drive through in Virginia City tested 376 asymptomatic people July 10.
Results for COVID-19 surveillance testing are a low-priority for state and private labs and takes about seven to 10 days. Test results for people with symptoms are a high priority because it is more likely that they are contagious than someone without any symptoms or knowledge of exposure to the novel virus. The Madison County Public Health Board, Montana National Guard, Madison County Commissioners’ Office, state and local Disaster and Emergency Services, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services assisted in the Friday afternoon surveillance testing at Placer Loop in Virginia City.
“We were super stoked to get over 300 people,” Madison County Public Health Nurse Melissa Brummel said.
Cars looped around the area into the afternoon hours and moved in two lines. The testing staff were equipped with personal protective gear as people drove up to the staging tents. Most of the vehicles had Montana license plates but some visitors also participated in the testing. Latex-gloved hands passed nasal swabs to individuals in their cars. The testing staff coached everyone through conducting the test themselves from the comfort of their cars. The samples were bottled and labeled for the state lab to test. People who tested positive will get a phone call in seven to 10 days.
Madison County’s two clinics are in the beginning stages of their surveillance testing, but the recent increase of priority testing has dominated their personnel’s time.