Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Closes March 1
As collective immunity improves and alternate testing resources including home antigen tests remain readily available, we’re met with a new COVID-19 milestone: closing the drive-thru testing centers.
Next month will mark three years since Carilion spooled up its COVID-19 response. Innovation and compassion were on display across our frontlines, and especially at COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites.
Drive-thru sites at Postal Drive in Roanoke and Barn Road Christiansburg completed more than 340,000 tests in three years’ time. More than 100 employees provided this critical service, braving the elements to deliver timely results and best care for patients, staff and providers. During peaks, it was not uncommon for staff to work from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. to ensure all needs were met.
“Often times, testing center personnel were in full PPE, so even though they were the direct point of contact for patients, many never really got to see them and thank them,” said Kim Roe, Vice President of Family and Community Medicine. “They truly worked tirelessly these past three years; their work was invaluable in keeping our workplace and communities safe. Thank you to everyone – from frontline staff to Facilities teams to TSG to clinical staff – who made these testing centers possible.”
As collective immunity improves and alternate testing resources including home antigen tests remain readily available, we’re met with a new COVID-19 milestone: closing the drive-thru testing centers. Starting March 1, testing center staff will assume new roles at other sites, and the facilities will be repurposed to meet other clinical needs.
“A closure is an odd thing to celebrate, but this is a moment to recognize all that was accomplished as we transition into the endemic stage of this virus,” said Roe.
This milestone does not represent an end of COVID-19, rather it's an evolution of care. Now, testing is available at primary and urgent care offices in conjunction with an appointment. Moreover, patients are encouraged to have home antigen tests stocked before they're needed. If an individual is symptomatic, take a home test promptly and connect with a primary care provider to determine appropriate treatments.
“COVID-19 is part of our day-to-day reality. What’s most important is to have a plan and be prepared,” said Dr. Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control and section chief of Infectious Diseases. “Stay up to date on your vaccines and booster, wash your hands regularly, mask up when uncertain, and have home-tests stocked before you need them. These will be steadfast tools going forward.”
Home tests are available at retail pharmacies near you. If you have any questions, speak with your primary care provider.