Free drive-through testing for COVID-19 for anyone will be available in Napoleon every Thursday for the next two months.

Community Health Services (CHS) will provide the testing starting this Thursday and every Thursday after that through July and August.

Linda Thiel, director of marketing for Community Health Services, said the free testing is available to anyone, whether they are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or not.

“It’s for anyone who wants to be tested,” Thiel said.

However, individuals must have an appointment to be tested. To make an appointment, call 419-334-9220 Monday through Friday between 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thiel noted appointments for each Thursday testing day will close at 1 p.m. the day before (Wednesday).

“As a best practice, it’s good to make sure they make that appointment before 1 p.m. the day before testing,” Thiel said.

Appointments are available for anyone regardless of whether or not they are a patient of CHS. A testing clinic was recently held only for CHS patients, and Thiel said it went well.

“We identified a few things that we could do better and a couple of best practices, so I’m glad we went through that drill,” Thiel said, adding scheduling is open for the clinics and they are already seeing interest. “It looks like we’re going to be very busy ... I think it’s going to be busy all summer.”

The test, which is administered by collecting a specimen using a nasal swab, will be sent to a lab to be processed and results are typically returned within three to four days. The test only detects current COVID-19 infections, not whether an individual has had the virus in the past.

“We are happy to provide this critical service to the residents of the regions we serve,” commented Joe Liszak, CEO of Community Health Services. “Together with local health departments and other health care providers, we are committed to doing everything we can to fight this virus and protect our community.”

Thiel said the Community Health Services received a federal grant to assist with the purchase of supplies such as personal protective equipment and pay for staffing associated with the testing.

Thiel explained the costs for the tests themselves are being handled by a lab, but anything that is not covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid will be funded through the CARES Act.

“The patient never gets billed,” she said.

As of Friday afternoon, the Ohio Department of Health reported 48,638 cases of the virus and 2,788 deaths in the state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday afternoon there were 2.4 million cases in the country and 124,325 deaths.

Symptoms of a possible COVID-19 infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell, vomiting or diarrhea and/or short throat.

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