April 23, 2020 Update
April 23, 2020: The New River Valley Public Health Task Force will again hold a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site on Friday, April 24 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Blacksburg High School. The site is closed to the public.
ONLY those individuals with a letter of authorization from the Virginia Department of Health’s New River Health District will be allowed access to the site, and only by appointment, to receive appropriate testing, assessment and referral services.
“Testing is important epidemiologically and helps us determine the prevalence of disease in our community,” said Noelle Bissell, M.D., director of the New River Health District, “but because capacity is limited we screen for those at highest risk. As we continue to test, we expect to have more positive cases.”
If you have questions about COVID-19 or testing, call the New River Health District’s COVID-19 public health call center at 540-267-8240. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. After hours, leave a message.
“In the vast majority of cases, testing does not inform our recommendations for your medical care,” Dr. Bissell continued. “The best protection for each of us comes from personal precautions, including hygiene and social distancing. That’s how YOU stay well, and how you protect those around you today, AND those you will be with tomorrow.”
“These sites take the pressure off our hospital systems and first responders so that they can provide essential medical and public safety services, around the clock," said Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson. “Instead of being tasked with assessment and transport, they can concentrate on true life-threatening medical emergencies.”
To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to:
- Stay home except for essential travel; if you must go out in public, wear a cloth face covering;
- Stay home when you are sick;
- Avoid contact with sick people;
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing;
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
- If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor;
- Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public; and
- Avoid close contact with crowds of any size, and avoid any crowd of more than 10 people.
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News media access to the Blacksburg High School testing site is available ONLY by advance request and appointment. For more information and to make a request, contact Robert Parker, public information officer, Virginia Department of Health, Western Region, firstname.lastname@example.org.