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Free COVID-19 testing in South Norfolk aims to stop the spread

Posted at 3:01 PM, Jun 26, 2020

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Health leaders in the city of Chesapeake teamed up and took action to help people in need find out if they have COVID-19.

The parking lot at the Food Lion in South Norfolk was turned into a free walk-up clinic Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Patients filled out a sheet asking for their address, phone number and name, and were asked if they were experiencing any symptoms.

Chesapeake Health Department officials said a person does not have to have any symptoms to get tested, as there are many people that are asymptomatic.

Testers then put a swab up both of the patient's nostrils for 15 seconds.

Health department officials say they always examine data before choosing a testing site location.

“We are interested in doing extensive testing, and we want to do it in areas where there’s primarily minority populations, because those have a high percentage of positive cases,” said Dr. Nancy Welch, the Director of the Chesapeake Health Department.

People that come are also provided with educational information: there are interpreters for people who don’t speak English, and people to help them sign up for Medicaid.

Welch said she wants the region to re-open, but wants it done safely, as she is fearful of an increase number of cases and deaths.

“We can do it with masks. It’s an easy enough thing to do with physical distancing, and then we can open up safely,” said Welch. “We don’t have medicine, we don’t have a vaccine, but what we have is each other.”

“Our concern is that people get the care that they need and they do come to the hospital when it’s needed, and that’s why we want to get out in the community and let folks know and get tested,” said Dr. Robert Culpepper, chief administrative officer for Chesapeake Regional Medical Center.