From STAFF REPORTS

A rare opportunity to be tested for COVID-19 without a doctor’s prescription will take place in Franklin County Tuesday, June 30 during a drive-through clinic at Pigg River Community Center.

Offered jointly by the West Piedmont Heath District, Bernard Healthcare Center and Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital, the event will be open to all Franklin County residents over the age of 18 on a first-come, first-served basis.

“While free drive-through testing has been available in other parts of the district, Franklin County has not had a testing event,” said Penny Hall, chief operations officer for the district. “Several community organizations and members of the faith community contacted us requesting testing,” she said.

The clinic will take place June 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and no appointment is necessary. Participants will drive onto the site in their cars, provide basic information about themselves, and have a nasal swab taken by a qualified medical professional. The state laboratory will analyze the tests and provide results within a few days.

“We chose a location that would be convenient to underserved communities,” Hall said. “Transportation is always a problem in a rural community, but the Pigg River site is centrally located, easy to access and laid out in a way that should eliminate traffic issues,” she noted.

Carilion teams will also be on-site to assist with staffing the event, providing medical and clerical personnel.

“This project goes hand-in-hand with our mission of improving the health of the communities that we serve,” said Carl Cline, Vice President of Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to participate and look forward to working with our partners.”

Community collaboration will make this event possible. The Virginia Department of Health is providing the test kits and laboratory analysis, the hospital and Bernard Healthcare Clinic are providing personnel, True Vine Baptist Church is providing food for volunteers and Pigg River Community Center is providing the location.

“It’s great to see neighbors coming together to help neighbors,” said Hall. “COVID-19 requires that we work together to keep each other safe. This event is an excellent example of community support and resilience.”

Other testing options remain available if individuals are not able to attend the one-day event.

“For those who are unable to make the one-day testing event, our team has enough testing supplies and personnel to conduct testing later on by appointment only,” said Ellen Holland of the Bernard Healthcare Center.

Hand washing, social distancing and masking remain crucial in the fight against COVID-19. Health experts urge residents to stay vigilant in order to keep themselves and their neighbors safe.

The Pigg River Community Center is located at 2410 South Main St. in Rocky Mount. For questions about testing, contact Nancy Bell at 488-5004 during the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or email nancy.bell@vdh.virginia.gov.



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