Hundreds line up for COVID-19 testing in Kanawha County

Kanawha-Charleston Health Department: Drive-thru event largest turnout yet
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 10:32 PM EDT
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Hundreds of cars filled the streets, starting from the Schoenbaum Center on Charleston’s West Side stretching all the way to the North Charleston Community Center.

“I absolutely was not expecting this kind of a turnout,” said Dr. Sherri Young, executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. “I’m so glad that people are taking the opportunity.”

Young said this was the Health Department’s 24th drive-thru COVID testing event and, so far, the highest turnout they’ve seen. Over 560 people went through the tents to test.

“I think the high turnout is due to people coming back from vacations and they’re listening, they know a lot of vacation destinations right now are hotspots, so they need to come in and be tested.”

But many lined up just to take up the opportunity for free testing and to ensure they’re COVID-free.

“I don’t have health insurance, and my mother is a kidney transplant patient,” said Maria Hatfield, one of hundreds who was tested. “I have to go to work and I have to make sure I don’t expose her.”

Hatfield was also one of hundreds to wait in a roughly three-hour long line to get tested.

“We realize because of the turnout (Wednesday) that we are going to have to do some larger scale testing events to meet the needs, and that’s why we’re adaptable to that,” Young told WSAZ. “We are going to pair up with the ambulance authority, we’re going to pair up with the county and the city and makes sure it gets done.”

Young also said before the testing event Wednesday, they had tested roughly 9,200 people for COVID in the county. She said the more who come, the better, and they’re planning future events.

“We’re not going to stop, we’re going to keep testing and be here for the public. COVID is not going away for the summer, COVID is not taking a vacation, we’re going to be here throughout the summer and get everybody tested who needs it.”

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