Free testing for COVID-19 is underway in Columbus County.
Goshen Medical Center’s Outreach Coordinator Brian Rhodes and provider Aixa Kimes, FNP, were at the Fair Bluff Town Hall Tuesday providing free “no out-of-pocket cost” tests for the coronavirus in partnership with the Columbus County Health Department. Testing will continue Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Chadbourn Baptist Church at 504 N. Howard St. and again on Tuesday, June 23, at the Bug Hill Senior Center, 11300 N.C. 905, Nakina.
Rhodes and Kimes traveled from Goshen’s headquarters in Faison to do the testing, and turnout in Fair Bluff was good. By mid-day, 26 people had been tested and others still were calling for appointments. And, although pre-testing publicity had indicated that people needed appointments, they weren’t turning away walk-ins who hadn’t made arrangements ahead of time.
“We don’t leave the office without at least 100 test kits,” said Rhodes, “and we are trying to accommodate people even if they don’t have an appointment.”
Nevertheless, people who want to be tested still are asked to call 910-267-2044 to make an appointment ahead of time.
Goshen has personnel performing testing throughout an eight-county area six days a week.
The test itself takes five minutes or less. A swab is taken from the nostril of the person being tested, and the more recent tests are not nearly as intrusive or uncomfortable as earlier tests which required swabs from deep within the nasal cavity, Rhodes said, and he would know. Goshen personnel involved in administering the tests themselves are tested weekly, and Rhodes has experienced all methods of testing, including the earlier more intrusive ones.
Testing occurs quickly, and people being tested don’t even have to get out of their cars. “When we get really, really busy we fill out the required paperwork and get people tested in three or four minutes total,” Rhodes said.
Test results are received back in three to five days and people who have been tested will receive telephone calls with their results, whether those results are positive or negative. Goshen will notify the health department of any positive test results and the health department will reach out to those with positive tests to determine how to best handle their individual situation.