Local and state health officials teamed up May 3 to host a free COVID-19 testing event at the Giles County Agri Park as local residents are encouraged to be proactive with their health during the continuing pandemic.
According to Tennessee Department of Health officials, a total of 136 people were tested at the three-hour event. Results from the tests were available just 24 hours later with no new positive tests reported.
The testing event was available to not only Giles County residents but anyone who was interested in receiving a test. The Tennessee Department of Health’s South Central Regional Health Department, which covers Giles as well as 11 other counties, hosted the event with the assistance of the Tennessee National Guard, Giles County Sheriff’s Department, Pulaski Police Department, Giles County Office of Emergency Management and Giles OEM’s Haz-Mat Team, as well as personnel from the Giles County Health Department.
“Our goal is to have the availability for testing if people want to be tested or they think they should be tested,” said South Central Regional Health Department Public Information Officer Madison Toney. “We want to let them know that they have the availability, and we are here to support them in their desire to be healthy. We want to help make sure that we protect the health of everybody in Tennessee.”
At the May 3 site, the primary test being performed was a nasopharyngeal test that Toney described as being somewhat similar to the flu test in which a swab is inserted into the nasal cavity through the nostril.
While some have been squeamish after seeing videos of these tests performed online, Toney reassured those who want to be tested that their care is in the best of hands when these tests are being administered.
“It is uncomfortable, but we have trained professionals who are doing it. They know how to do it properly. You are going to be safe. They are not going to potentially hurt you or harm you. To get the best results, you’ll just have to bear with us for a few seconds, so we can get the sample accurately. After that, you’ll be pain free,” she said.
While there are no further testing sites of this variety currently on the calendar in the South Central region, Toney said that more may be scheduled. She also noted that there are no shortage of tests available locally with several resources to find the best testing option available to you.
The Giles County Health Department is administering free testing from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and can be reached at 363-5506. The Tennessee Department of Health’s website also has a list of testing sites for each county at tn.gov/health. While the department does not list individual physicians who perform tests, Toney said that those who want to seek out a test can contact their primary care provider to find out more about local testing options or by reaching out to urgent care clinics for more information.
In the meantime, Toney advised those who are venturing out and going back to work to continue to practice social distancing, wear masks when in public, wash hands often and seek out medical advice if you believe you have symptoms.