Fayette County tests 7 for COVID-19 as health department begins drive-thru testing

OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – The Fayette County Health Department alongside local partners set up the very first drive-thru testing site in our area for COVID-19 on Thursday.

This took place behind the Mountain Laurel Clinic in Oak Hill.

All seven who showed up with appointments were tested for COVID-19. Dr. Anita Stewart, the county’s health officer, talked us through the process.

“Once we get their forms completed over the phone, they’ll be advised to pull through,” she said. “We’ll then screen them for influzenza, and they’ll pull back around and wait for that test result. If that test result is negative, then we will call and get approval for their testing from the state and get their identification number, have them pull back around for the COVID testing.”

Those tested on Thursday were referred to the health department by local providers and were then screened by the department over the phone.

If they had the symptoms that the CDC requires, they were put on the list for testing. That is why this testing event was not advertised to the public as it was only for the people who qualified for testing on this day. 

EMS workers and paramedics with Mt. Hope were the ones doing the swabbing and handling, dressed head-to-toe in protective gear. 

Doctors on-site were talking with patients on the phone without ever having to come in contact with them.

This has been weeks in the making for Fayette County as they have been working out the logistics. 

“I’m just super proud of our team at the health department and all of our partners that we’ve done all these things and now we’re here to do this drive-thru testing today,” Fayette County Health Department Administrator Teri Harlan said. 

All patients tested negative for the flu which means all were tested for COVID-19.

Those results were then transported to the state lab.

The Fayette County Health Department has around 20 to 30 tests right now available, so they hope to continue doing this every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon for as long as supplies last. 

However, on top of that, they are dealing with a nationwide shortage. 

“It’s not just in West Virginia,” Dr. Stewart explained. “It is all over the country. Testing supplies, particularly the viral transport media, that little pink fluid, is just backordered everywhere. We can’t find it anywhere.” 

But the health department says they are continuing their fight to get more tests, so they can continue to provide this service. A location for next time has not been determined. 

On top of the Fayette County Health Department and Mt. Hope Fire and EMS, also assisting on the scene was Fayette County Emergency Management, Oak Hill Police and Jan-Care Ambulance.  

The results are expected to come in as early as Friday.

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.