400 people tested for COVID-19 in Richmond drive-thru event

Hundreds tested for Covid-19 at drive-thru event

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Following the Thanksgiving holiday, 400 people were tested for COVID-19 outside “The Diamond” in Richmond on Thursday.

The mass drive-thru testing event was put on by the Richmond City Health District to allow those who traveled or gathered in big groups for the holiday to get tested.

“We very explicitly timed it about five to seven days after Thanksgiving Day, which is an ideal time,” said Richmond City Health Director Dr. Danny Avula. “If you spent Thanksgiving Day with a large group of people or with family members from different parts of the state, or different parts of the country, seven days out is a good time to get tested. It gives enough time for the virus to incubate if you were unknowingly exposed.”

Avula added there was a lull in testing over the summer, but the last two to three weeks have had the highest case count during all of the pandemic.

For more than three straight hours, health professionals tested person after person for COVID-19.

“Just to make sure I’m safe and everybody around me is safe,” said Robin Robertson.

Robertson was the first in line. He arrived at The Diamond more than an hour before the event even started.

He said he and his family gathered for Thanksgiving and while he does not have any symptoms, he wants to be safe.

“It’s just the thing to do during these times with the holidays coming and you’re going to be around your family,” Robertson said. “It’s a necessary thing for everybody to do.”

The holiday travel and gathering is a major reason why the city health district put on this massive drive-thru event.

“We’ve just found in the last couple of weeks our numbers have been increasing,” said Tracey Avery-Geter, a Nurse Practitioner Supervisor and COVID tester with the city health district. “We wanted to make sure we had an event that worked for more people in this central area of Richmond.”

“I flew in here on Friday,” said Debbie Wood.

Wood came to visit family and was tested well before traveling. However, to see other family here, she got a COVID test Thursday to keep everyone safe.

“I think it’s a good idea for people like me who have been traveling and been with family,” Wood added. “My family has been a tight group, so they haven’t been out and about and mingling with people not in their group.”

Cars snaked across the parking lot outside the baseball stadium for much of the afternoon.

Avery-Geter said this was the largest testing event the health district has held since the start of the pandemic.

Avula added it will serve as good practice for when the city has to eventually administer mass vaccinations for the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, those who were tested on Thursday should expect their results in three to five days.

The Richmond City Health District has scheduled future free drive-thru testing events. Those will be held:

  • Friday, December 4 Viernes 4 de diciembre Eastern Henrico Health Department 1400 N Laburnum Ave, Richmond, VA 23223 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM Drive Thru Event. Only 75 tests are available. (Pruebas desde su auto. Solo 75 pruebas.)
  • Tuesday, December 8 Martes 8 de diciembre Eastern Henrico Health Department 1400 N Laburnum Ave, Richmond, VA 23223 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Drive Thru Event. Only 75 tests are available. (Pruebas desde su auto. Solo 75 pruebas.)
  • Thursday, December 10 Jueves 10 de diciembre Southwood Management Property Office 1400 Southwood Parkway, Richmond, VA 23224 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Friday, December 11 Viernes 11 de diciembre Eastern Henrico Health Department 1400 N Laburnum Ave, Richmond, VA 23223 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM Drive Thru Event. Only 75 tests are available. (Pruebas desde su auto. Solo 75 pruebas.)
Mass COVID-19 testing event happening in Richmond Thursday

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