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New testing site in Albemarle County helps a thousand people

Outside of the Albemarle County testing location
Outside of the Albemarle County testing location
Published: Jan. 22, 2022 at 8:55 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The new COVID-19 testing site in Albemarle County has been open for a week, and according to the Virginia Department of Health, it’s already making an impact.

VDH says it opened this testing site next to Food Lion, in response to the need for testing. Even with appointments canceled due to the snow last week, the site has already swabbed more than a thousand people.

“We’re seeing a robust turnout,” Suzie Trotter with the VDH said. “The public is getting used to now that there’s going to be more than just one time a week in Charlottesville, it’s four times a week. So, that has been extremely helpful for the community to get those appointments.”

Unlike other testing sites in the area, this one is appointment-only.

“The public can plan ahead,” Trotter said. “Plus, being that it’s winter, they do not need to stand in line for any length of time. As well as the testing center in Charlottesville is actually in an indoor building.”

By prohibiting walk-ins, the VDH aims to eliminate the uncertainty behind the first-come, first-serve method.

“Not waiting an hour is really nice,” Gabriella Perkes, who got tested said. “I was surprised that it was appointment-only, since I have only seen the drive-thru, but this is way better.”

Perkes says she made her appointment two days in advance. On Saturday, she was in and out in five minutes. She says she also appreciates the convenience of a PCR test option on the weekends.

“The lines have gotten longer since the beginning of COVID at the drive-thru places,” Perkes said. “I used to make appointments at CVS, but my appointments actually kept getting canceled, which was really inconvenient. So, this is really great. I definitely would use it again if I need to.”

No appointment is left open. Trotter says they want to help everyone.

“Instead of letting that go as an unfulfilled or no show appointment, we go ahead and rerelease it so that we get up to the max that we need, Trotter said. “So it’s a little bit of a finesse, but people have looked throughout the day to see if there’s anymore appointments that arrived throughout the day.”

This testing model is one of nine that will be around the Commonwealth by the end of the month.

“We leaned into the successes that we already had established with our community vaccine centers,” Trotter said. “It does sometimes feel like it’s never enough. Our mission is not complete. We will not stand down. We’ll continue to look at all resources to continue testing.

You can make your testing appointment online at Search COVID Testing Clinics (virginia.gov)

Trotter says it’s important to cancel your appointment if you’re unable to make it.

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