The city of Harrisonburg conducted free coronavirus testing on May 2 and May 16 and is planning on possibly conducting a third testing event sometime next week, Mike Parks, the Harrisonburg City communications director, said.
The first testing event took place in two neighborhoods — Mosby Court and Northeast. Sentara Healthcare provided 50 tests to each neighborhood, and 83 tests were administered that day, Parks said.
Parks said the first testing event was focused on trying to get more testing and resources into the “most diverse communities.” The city asked those at the first event to only be tested if they were showing symptoms.
“We know that our more diverse communities, especially those where we know there are a number of residents who either speak English as a second language or maybe don’t speak English at all, have more difficulties in obtaining resources and healthcare and things in that nature that they need in responding to COVID-19,” Parks said.
The second testing event, which was held at Skyline Middle School and Spotswood Elementary School, warranted 118 tests — the additional 18 being extras from previous testing events. Parks said within two hours of the four-hour event, all 118 tests were administered. At this event, the city allowed anyone to be tested regardless of whether or not they were showing symptoms.
In addition to receiving a test and masks at the events, residents also received information about how to keep themselves and their families safe and healthy and what to do in the event that they’ve been exposed to COVID-19.
Parks said Rockingham County also conducted almost 200 tests on May 15. He said the city’s currently looking into partnering with Rockingham County and the Virginia Department of Health to “hopefully do another round of testing as early as next week.” He said he hopes there’ll be more tests available at upcoming testing events.
“Being able to do as much testing as possible will let us know exactly where that issue is, but also let us know where we need to direct resources and let individuals know how they can take care of their own health and wellness,” Parks said.
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