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Central Virginia's First Drive-Through Coronavirus Tests Begin

cars driving up to health care workers under white tents
Four tents were set up in Henrico County's Dorey Park where healthcare workers provided drive-through screening for people potentially infected with COVID-19. (Photo: Roberto Roldan/VPM)

More than 100 people were tested for the coronavirus disease at the first drive-through testing site in Central Virginia on Wednesday. 

All of those tested had been pre-screened and referred to the pilot testing site by their local health departments. 

Patients pulled up to a series of four tents at Dorey Park in Henrico, and healthcare workers took mouth swab tests created by the private company LabCorp. The patients were then told to go home and self-quarantine until they get their test results, which could take up to four days.

Dr. Danny Avula, who heads Richmond and Henrico’s Health Departments, said these pop-up testing sites are helping to screen more people.

“While there have been testing opportunities available for people with very severe symptoms or who meet certain criteria - travel history, nursing home, etc. - there have not been many testing opportunities for folks who just might have a cough and fever and don’t know where to go,” he said. 

So far, health officials in Central Virginia have only been given 200 tests from private companies. About 130 people were registered for drive-through testing on Wednesday. 

Avula says after this community testing pilot, health departments in the region may only have about 70 tests left. Health officials are hoping to get more tests soon and to put on another pop-up testing site by this weekend.

The drive-through testing site opened at noon on Wednesday, just hours after Avula and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced the first four COVID-19 cases had been identified in the city proper. More than a dozen cases had been identified in Central Virginia on Wednesday.

If you think you may need testing for COVID-19 you can contact the Richmond Health Department at 804-205-3501.