Free COVID-19 tests will be offered by the Highland County Department with the help of several partners on Friday, Oct. 30 in Hillsboro.
The tests will be offered to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will be administered by the Ohio National Guard at the Highland County Fairgrounds.
“Increased testing availability is one of the most effective ways that we can control the spread of COVID-19 in Highland County,” Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner said. “It is likely that our local numbers will increase as a result of this testing, which in this case is a good thing. If we are able to better identify cases in the community, our health department staff will use our isolation and quarantine procedures to prevent cases in the future.
“We continue to aim for a level-headed and calm approach to our COVID-19 response, and I want to emphasize that this testing event is a proactive step meant to help our population have better access to testing. We are also trying to get ahead of recent case increases by improving our ability locally to see and understand where disease transmission is happening in the community.”
Those wanting a test will not need to leave their vehicle. Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District Lt. Branden Jackman said drivers should enter the fairground’s main entrance off Fairground Road. From there they will be directed through the fairgrounds to the Rabbit Barn. The test will be administered there and then drivers will be directed to an exit onto John Street.
Identification will be required. Once participants are in line they will be asked to fill out paperwork asking for their name, date of birth, address, and possibly a question about whether they are currently sick or have been around anyone that has had COVID-19.
Highland County Health Department employees will take participants’ phone number and email address so those tested can be notified of the test results.
While the tests are free, Warner said those with insurance should bring their insurance cards. He said no one will be billed, but those providing the tests can be reimbursed if insurance information is provided.
He estimated it will take three to five days to receive the results.
The National Guard is bringing 300 test kits. Warner said that judging from tests offered nearby, he expects 175 to 200 to be tested. But he said that if more than 300 people show up, the health department has additional test kits.
“We’ll be there for anybody who’s in line at 2 p.m. to go ahead and process those tests,” Warner said.
He said the “TSR test” is what will be used, adding that it is the most accurate test. He said it’s a nose swab test and will be shipped out to a lab for results.
The tests are only recommended for those 2 years of age and above, Jackman said.
One thing health care providers have discovered during the pandemic, Warner said, is that many Highland County residents do not have a primary health care provider. To that end, he said Highland Health Providers will be on hand to help those without a primary health care provider get hooked up with one.
Other health care information will be available.
The Highland County Emergency Management Agency, Highland County Soil and Water Conservation District and Paint Creek fire district will help with the event.
Warner said he is not sure if any other free tests events will be offered.
“We’ll wait and see what kind of interest there is and where things go,” he said. “We’re a little concerned with the trend of how things are going in Highland County. I think we’ll have more cases with the weather getting cooler and more people moving indoors, and people just getting bored with the whole pandemic process. So we may offer it again.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.