Blue Ridge Health District responds to COVID-19 testing struggles

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 5:08 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The recent winter weather is not making COVID-19 testing any easier. Many people are feeling stressed trying to get swabbed.

Louisa County resident Rebecca Sterne says she made an appointment through the Virginia Department of Health for Sunday, January 9, at Fashion Square Mall, however, that event was canceled due to the rain.

Sterne says she never received a call or text regarding that cancellation.

“There should have been better communication. It doesn’t seem like the left hand knows what the right hand is doing,” Sterne said. “Communicate with those who are traveling in maybe bad weather circumstances. I didn’t need to travel all the way to Charlottesville and back yesterday, already feeling sick in the rain for an appointment that didn’t exist.”

Blue Ridge Health District Spokesperson Jason Elliott says cancelling that testing event was not an easy decision.

“Unfortunately when the rain does come through, PPE is not effective, so our staff and our community members aren’t safe,” Elliott said. “That also impacts some of the technology and some of the test kits themselves as far as being able to be run safely.”

Elliott says the health district does its best to communicate with people if an appointment for a COVID-19 test is cancelled. He recommends checking the BRHD website before arriving to get swabbed.

“In the event that one of our testing sites has to be canceled, postponed, or delayed, we have a few different things that we will do to make sure that the public is aware of those changes. For those people who are registered for testing, we do send an email or reach out to them by their provided contact information, that way we can communicate directly with those individuals,” Elliott said. “We also keep our website updated, and we highly recommend that if there is a chance of any weird weather or hazardous conditions that people will double check our website and then, of course, our social media channels - Facebook, Twitter, as well as Nextdoor - are all updated with any of our changes.”

To mitigate these testing obstacles, Elliott says a new site will be opening soon.

“We are actually very excited that in this week. We’re finalizing details for a new testing center that’s coming to the Charlottesville area, so that will be another resource for people,” Elliott said.

If you need to check for COVID-19 testing sites, click here.

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