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Rowan County offers free community COVID-19 testing

The hospital can handle 250 tests a day. Wednesday, leaders issued around 150.
The hospital can handle 250 tests a day. Wednesday, leaders issued around 150.(WKYT)
Published: May. 6, 2020 at 9:53 PM EDT
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Rowan County health leaders are hoping to give COVID-19 tests to as many as they can handle and are opening their doors, urging the public to take advantage.

St. Claire Healthcare partnered with local city and county governments in creating a drive-thru testing experience.

The tests are free but must be scheduled through an appointment. Leaders say at one point, tests were reserved for those meeting a certain criteria including COVID-19 symptoms. With current testing volumes, they are now able to issue the tests to the public who don't carry any symptoms but may asymptomatic.

Dr. William Melahn says their goal is to better protect the community then study how many cases could actually be in Rowan and other surrounding counties. So far Rowan County has had three cases with two fully recovered.

“By knowing about the cases, we can do better control up front and prevent an outbreak and reduce the total number of cases," Melahn said.

Some parts of rural Kentucky remain underserved in testing. St. Claire Healthcare has since been named a Regional hub for the test by the Governor's office. With tests being given in large cities at a more rapid rate, leaders say free testing available to the rural population has been essential and could save lives.

"These are very stressful days but on a good day it could be really difficult for our citizens to go very far to get any kind of testing or medical care," said Melahn. "If we don’t offer it close-by they are not going to get it.”

As of Wednesday, testing remains available Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The hospital is adapting to those that need time after general work hours by staying available on May 6 through 8 until 7 p.m.

Leaders say regardless if the drive thru testing is taken down in the future, the will honor free testing within the hospital or clinic.

The hospital can handle 250 tests a day. Wednesday, leaders issued around 150.

For more information call 606-780-5227 to schedule your test.