Amid COVID-19 surge, health district offers more testing
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the Central Shenandoah Health District is reintroducing mass testing sites throughout the Valley.
Active cases have spiked in the last month. Cases in Augusta County increased from 12 on August 9 to 141 reported on September 9, just a month later.
With that increase in cases, experts say there’s a need for more testing. Testing has been available at the Government Center in Verona on Tuesdays and Fridays, but that’s expanding.
Jordi Shelton, communications specialist with the Central Shenandoah Health District, says they don’t have days or locations yet.
“Cases are still on the rise, so that’s why we’re moving back to having these larger testing clinics, just to ensure folks who are symptomatic or have been exposed are able to get tested quickly and somewhere in their community that’s convenient to them,” Shelton said.
Shelton says the increase is due to a number of things: the transmissibility of the delta variant, low vaccination numbers, and people reducing mitigation strategies, like masking and social distancing.
“We are going to see a community spread until we get to the point that we have enough vaccination coverage that it can slow down the progression of the virus a little bit,” Shelton said.
Since cases started another rise in July, health experts began recommending layering vaccination with other health measures, like masking, social distancing and hand washing. Shelton says testing is another strategy to fight the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s now really just a combined effort because we know that testing is a really helpful mitigation tool as folks are getting back in schools, it’s helpful to test when you’re symptomatic, to test when you’re exposed so you can reduce that transmission,” Shelton said.
Shelton says the increased testing options will help as more people in all areas test positive for COVID-19. Augusta Health wrote in an update Thursday they expect COVID cases to increase throughout September.
To find a testing site near you, visit the Health Department’s website.
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