Nearly 100 people get free coronavirus testing in west Dayton

Nearly 100 people were tested for the coronavirus on Monday at a west Dayton church.

Car after car waited in the rain to get the free test at McKinley United Methodist Church.

Primary Health Solutions, a nonprofit federally qualified health care center, did the drive-thru testing. The drive-thru was scheduled from 1 to 5 p.m., but by the scheduled start time, Primary Health Solutions had tested nearly 20 people.

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Peter Matthews, pastor at McKinley United Methodist Church, said cars started lining up at 11 a.m. in the church’s parking lot at 196 Hawthorn St.

Many getting tested were members of the church, but the testing was open to anyone.

“We’re hoping to get as many people tested today as possible,” Matthews said. “Access to testing is important, but even if they’re not positive for (coronavirus), they might find out they are positive for something else. And access to information like that is important.”

Members of the church passed out masks and water bottles to those getting into the drive-thru line.

Stephen Roller, the chief operating officer and chief clinical officer of Primary Health Solutions, said the drive-thru coronavirus testing at McKinley United Methodist Church will be the first of many testings in Dayton. Future testing locations and dates will be determined, but could include testings at McKinley United Methodist Church again, at other churches on the west side of Dayton or at the Primary Health Solutions office at 300 Forest Ave., near Grandview Medical Center.

Four people from Primary Health Solutions were checking people in, giving them the necessary doctor’s order to get tested and administering the test.

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Many people getting tested were not feeling sick, but thought they had been exposed to the coronavirus. Others didn’t think they had been exposed but just wanted to make sure they didn’t have the virus.

Connie Lawson, who has been a member at McKinley United Methodist Church since she was 11, said she wanted to get tested “just to be sure.”

Lawson said it was helpful that the testing was free, but she planned to get tested anyway because she wanted to know if she had the coronavirus.

“This is very frightening,” Lawson said. “I think it behooves people to be careful and aware. I’m glad my church took the initiative to do this.”

Lawson said she sings in the choir and has for many years. She fears for the people who are not following social distancing guidelines or wearing a mask when they go out in public.

“I don’t know if anything has affected the whole world like this before,” Lawson said. “It’s phenomenal. This could be like Noah’s Ark and wipe out whole populations.”

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Joseline Aviles Colon was in line right around 1 p.m. She tested positive for the coronavirus almost two weeks ago and was waiting for her friend, Karlos Rivera Morales to be tested. Aviles Colon said she had no fever, but had body aches, a headache and a loss of smell.

She said she is feeling better daily and wanted to make sure that Rivera Morales was healthy. He had not been showing symptoms.

Beverly Martin is a dietary aide at Siena Woods nursing home in Shiloh. She decided to take advantage of the free testing because she works with older people.

There have not been any coronavirus cases at Siena Woods, Martin said.

Martin said she has been wearing a mask whenever she goes out and keeping a distance from people.

“I think not only the summer will be key, but I think how we act in the fall and winter will be important, too,” Martin said.

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