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Drive-through COVID testing set in Havre

 

Last updated 7/3/2020 at 11:45am



Bullhook Community Health Center, in cooperation with the Hill County Health Department, the Montana Primary Care Association and the Governor’s office will be conducting drive-through COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic people in the Havre area at Havre High School’s west parking lot July 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

People looking to get tested should enter through the south-west entrance on Bullhook Drive by Rod’s Drive Inn and are asked not to leave their vehicles, although they will need to fill out some paperwork and provide some basic demographic information before the test can be conducted.

Bullhook CEO Kyndra Hall said the purpose of this testing is to identify spread of the disease within and between communities.

“If there is a positive, they will be contacted by the Hill County Health Department and they’ll follow up from there,” Hall said.

Hall said people will be tested with a mid-nasal swab which she said she knows is something people worry about but wanted to assure people that it’s not as invasive as it sounds.

“So not all the way to the brain, just halfway,” she said, jokingly.

Hall said people can wear masks if they like, but the staff at the event will be taking full precautions to ensure their safety.

“We will be in full (personal protective equipment, (N-95 medical masks), gowns, shields, so don’t be surprised when we walk up to your car looking like an alien,” she said.

Hall said the current expectation is that the results of this testing event will take five to seven days to be processed.

She said the increase in testing throughout the state has resulted in longer wait times for results, but the state has recently partnered with Quest Diagnostics in an effort to bring the processing time back down.

Hall said speed is especially important when dealing with asymptomatic testing because carriers of the disease have no way of knowing that they have it and the less opportunity they have to spread it the better.

“If they’re asymptomatic, we don’t want them just sitting there for another week,” she said.

Hall said attendees will also need to fill out a little bit of paperwork before the test to provide some basic demographic information.

She said changes in quarantine requirements as the state continues its re-opening process makes predicting the results of these tests very difficult.

“We hope we would see all negatives, but it’s hard to say especially with more travel opening up around the state, and people being able to go out of state and come back without that quarantine time,” she said, “… It’s anybody’s guess.”

Hall said organizing events like this almost always involves some level of challenge but setting up this event has been minimally problematic.

“The public school system was great with them letting us use their parking lot,” she said, “That was awesome because we were trying to find somewhere that wouldn’t cause a big congestion with traffic.”

Hall said there are no set plans for future events like this, but they do intend to observe how the event goes and what can be improved, and depending on the need or want at this event they’ll determine if they should hold another one.

She said 700 tests will available at this event and there is the possibility that the tests could run out, which would be an indication that there is a need for future testing events.

“Some of the other community health centers that have done events around the state have varied from 400 to 700 over a four-hour event, so it just depends on the people coming through and how fast we can get them through,” she said.

She said that despite their best efforts, a chance exists that the event could see some traffic congestion and she asked that people try to be patient and they will be preforming the tests as efficiently as they can.

Hall said the data gained from this event will help the health department and the state find out if and how the disease is spreading and will help them better respond to the pandemic.

“If you have any desire at all, please come out and get tested,” she said.

 

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