In effort to expand access to testing, Creighton Court residents offered free COVID-19 tests

Richmond

Gov. Northam issues warning to Virginia: "This is not going away anytime soon"

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — More people were tested for COVID-19 for free in Richmond Tuesday. Gov. Ralph Northam, Mayor Levar Stoney, City Council President Cynthia Newbille and other officials got an inside look at the testing event before it began at Creighton Court.

Mayor Stoney urged residents to take advantage of the city’s free testing in under-resourced communities.

“Please show up. We’re begging you to. It’s the only way we can get a handle on where the coronavirus is throughout our community,” Stoney said.

He also addressed some myths going around about testing. “This is not an injection. This is just a swab of your nose, your nostrils,” said Stoney.

While 60 people pre-registered for the testing event, a spokesperson for the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts told 8News that 115 people were tested. Richmond Health District Director Dr. Danny Avula said Creighton Court was chosen as Tuesday’s testing site because the city is hoping to provide more equal access to testing.

“For most of this pandemic, our lowest income residents who haven’t met the criteria of being hospitalized or living in a long-term care facility or being a health care worker have not had the same access to testing,” Dr. Avula said.

Gov. Northam spoke about the more than 800 new COVID-19 cases and 34 new deaths reported Tuesday in Virginia.

“This is not going away anytime soon,” said Northam, “I just hope that we’re in the peak of it right now with 800 plus cases today. I just hope the numbers start going down.”

Northam said Virginia’s growing capacity to test could be contributing to the higher number of reported cases. Virginia now has a testing capacity of 4,000 per day, with a goal of getting to 10,000 per day.

“The more individuals we test, the more positives we’re going to have,” Northam said.

The people tested at Tuesday’s event will get their results in 24 to 48 hours. There is another free testing event scheduled for Thursday in the Gilpin Court Community. Dr. Avula said that event could be pushed to Friday because of the potential threat of storms. He said they are also looking at communities for two to three more testing events next week.

Dr. Avula said of the 22 people tested at Woodman West Apartments last week, two were positive for COVID-19. Of the 69 people tested at Southwood Apartments last week, 12 tested positive.

If you live in or near Gilpin Court and would like to get tested Thursday, call the Health District’s COVID-19 hotline at 804-205-3501 to be screened and given an appointment.

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