Residents get tested for COVID-19

Published 9:46 am Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

This reporter was offered the opportunity to be tested. It’s a slightly unsettling feeling, but only for a few moments. — Submitted Dr. Todd Wagner

Painless exam takes only a few minutes


It tickles, but just for a few moments.

“It” being the test for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). At least, that was this reporter’s experience on Saturday at one of the two testing sites last weekend.

Myself along with nearly 500 other people — some from as far away at Portsmouth — accepted the Western Tidewater Health District offer to be checked for the virus.

By 10 a.m. on Friday, a long line of cars snaked its way through the was of Camp Community College parking lot. Within a couple of hours, the 250 kits available were used. Those residents who drove up later were told they could go to S.P. Morton Elementary School for the next day’s testing.

“A big thank you to local law enforcement and the Virginia State Police for their assistance, Camp Community College and the Medical Reserve Corps,” said Bernard Hill, a spokesman for the WTHD.

A team of trained staff members approached the drivers and passengers to ask some quick questions about health and identification. Then a long cotton swab was put deep into each nostril to swipe the nasal cavity. The stick was sealed in a tube and properly marked for testing.

LaVona Jordan watches as Danielle Jordan puts her head back for the swab to be put into her nasal cavity. The other passengers, all children, were also tested for COVID-19 at S.P. Morton Elementary School on Saturday. — Stephen H. Cowles The Tidewater News

Each test took about 3 to 3-1/2 minutes start to finish.

The procedure to check the results, said WTHD Director Dr. Todd Wagner, would begin the next day.

“Those tested were informed that they will be informed if positive in the next 2-3 days,” he said. “We had a great testing day [on Friday] with our max (250 due to limits lab capability) reached at about 11:45 a.m.”

He added that wasn’t sure just yet on the demographics, “but I can say we had a good distribution of age, gender and race.”

Whether there will be another such clinic is too soon to say, said the doctor. To be fair, though, Suffolk and Smithfield, would also have to be considered.