Amid a recent uptick in coronavirus cases in several area counties, pop-up testing sites are coming to the region.
Cases have been trending up lately in the region, with parts of Montgomery, Greene, Clark and Warren counties all reporting increases in recent weeks.
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In Montgomery County, cases reported have increased from 1,082 to 1,292 in the past 10 days. Warren has seen an increase from 543 to 594 and Greene from 149 to 175 in the same time period.
On Monday, the Ohio Department of Health reported four additional deaths and 729 new cases in the last 24 hours. There are 217 Ohioans currently in the ICU from COVID-19 and 124 patients on ventilators, up from Sunday’s census of 201 ICU patients and 126 patients on ventilators.
The pop-up testing locations are in partnership with the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio National Guard, local community health centers, and the COVID-19 Minority Health Strike Force.
With cases in Ohio, black residents are disproportionately getting sick and dying from the virus and many of the local zip codes with “hot spots” of cases rising are also home to a higher percent of black residents than the region as a whole. The COVID-19 Minority Health Strike Force has been tasked with addressing the racial disparity, including making testing more accessible.
“The COVID-19 Minority Health Strike Force has worked with local partners to create pop-up testing sites in communities where access to testing may be limited,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “By joining with the Ohio National Guard and other local partners, we can provide tests to any Ohioan who wants one. With a better understanding of COVID-19 through increased testing, we’ll be better able to prevent its spread.”
More testing mean more people able to find out if they are infectious and need to isolate to keep others from getting sick, and more testing also helps public health officials have better data when working to craft the right response.
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There have been one case for 556 Montgomery County residents, but when broken down by race, there have been one case for every 347 black residents and one case for every 866 white residents.
Primary Health Solutions has had testing available each Monday, partnering to hold test collections in the parking lots of different churches in Dayton. Next Monday, the testing will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Zion Baptist Church at 1684 Earlham Drive, Dayton. People interested in testing first call Primary Health Solutions at (937) 535-5060 to talk to a provider with over some screening and symptoms questions and then can get on the schedule for testing.
Ronda Croucher, Primary Health Solutions VP of community engagement, said they have had about 100 people or more come out most weeks at their testing site in Dayton.
Community health centers have been encouraging people with no primary care provider to get connected with them not just for testing but to also find a medical home and build a relationship with a provider. Community health centers treat patients regardless of their ability to pay.
“We don’t want the fact that somebody doesn’t have a primary care provider to be a barrier to their testing. We also want to become their medical home,” Croucher said.
Five Rivers Health Centers is hosting two of these pop-up test sites, with the goal of testing 1,000 people at the two locations.
The Five Rivers Health Centers locations include at the Greene County Health Center, 360 Wilson Drive, Xenia, from 9 a.m. to to 4 p.m. Wednesday. The center will also host testing at Samaritan Health Center, 921 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd., Dayton, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday.
Testing is available to anyone that wants one, including those who live in other zip codes than where pop-up testing is being held. Kim Bramlage, communications manager for Five Rivers Health Centers, said they would recommend testing especially for those that are worried about possible recent exposure and anyone who is experiencing symptoms.
Those who show up to the site should bring their State I.D. or driver's license and their insurance card if they have one. Appointments are not required but preregistration is appreciated and available at fiverivershealthcenters.org. Patients can also pre-register for the Xenia testing site by calling (937) 708-3403 or pre-register for the Dayton site by calling (937) 681-2091.
Tests are at no cost to the patient. The first 200 cars at each site will also get a kit that includes face coverings, hand sanitizer and sanitizing spray, according to Five Rivers.
More options for testing can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Ohio Department of Health has reported a significant rise in testing over the last few weeks, with 13,256 new tests reported June 22.