Those in Columbus and Phenix City who have been needing to get tested for the COVID-19 virus will have an opportunity over the next four days.
Mercy Med, a non-profit Columbus medical clinic, will do community-wide drive-through testing Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Cascade Hills Church off J.R. Allen Parkway.
Mercy Med Director of Development Billy Holbrook originally said the private lab could provide 500 or more kits. Mercy Med has now been told that the lab has the ability to process all of the patients that Mercy Med deems in need of testing.
“We are partnering with a lab called Health Track Rx,” Holbrook said. “They have committed to providing plenty of test kits each day, with a max of 2,000 for the total event. There is no need for a huge rush at the beginning of the day on Friday. We can commit to doing as many test kits as time allows. If someone shows up Monday afternoon, they should have the same opportunity as someone on Friday morning.”
Those qualifying for testing must meet one of three criteria:
— Running a fever.
— Persistent cough.
— Direct in-person exposure to someone who may have or has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus.
This will be the first wide-spread testing in Muscogee County. To date, about 300 people have been tested at drive-through sites operated by the West Central Health District and Mercy Med. Piedmont Columbus Regional is operating a drive-through site but has not released numbers.
The local drive-through testing started on March 16 on a limited basis. The local hospitals are also testing patients and staff.
The testing location is the parking lot of Cascade Hills Church, 727 54th Street. Columbus. It will start in the area nearest the sanctuary and end near the church’s athletic facility.
The testing site will operate Friday, Saturday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Sunday, it will be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
No one will be allowed outside of their vehicle. There is no appointment necessary.
The limit is two tests per vehicle. People are urged to drive themselves to the site. If they are too sick to do that, only a driver and the persons or persons being tested should be in the car.
Much of the testing done previously, including Mercy Med’s, has been limited to Georgia residents. There are no residency restrictions to be tested at the Cascade Hills site.
The results are expected to take 48-72 hours to return, Holbrook said.
Mercy Med is looking for volunteers to help at the testing site.