Health department announces opportunities for free asymptomatic COVID-19 testing
photo by: Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health
Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health will conduct free asymptomatic COVID-19 mass testing events from Nov. 21 to Nov. 25 in Lawrence, Eudora, Baldwin City and Lecompton.
The testing is being funded through money LMH Health received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) for mass community testing, and health leaders hope it will provide more information about asymptomatic carriers in the county.
“These mass testing events in our community will help us to identify people who might be asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 and prevent them from spreading it to others, especially those who might be especially vulnerable, such as individuals over 65 years of age or those with certain medical conditions,” Linda Craig, director of clinic services at Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, said in a news release.
Douglas County residents will have the option to be tested for COVID-19 for free, but will need to make an appointment in advance online at bit.ly/LDCPHcovidtest. These testing opportunities are for residents who are asymptomatic. People who are having COVID-19 symptoms should contact their doctor or the health department to be screened for testing.
The asymptomatic COVID-19 testing opportunities are as follows:
•Lawrence: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper St.
•Lawrence: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper St.
•Eudora: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22, at the Eudora Community Center, 1638 Elm St.
•Eudora: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25, at the Eudora Community Center, 1638 Elm St.
•Baldwin City: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23, at the Baldwin City Library, 800 Seventh St.
•Lecompton: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22, at Lecompton Elementary School, 626 Whitfield St.
All of the events will be drive-thru, but for individuals who arrive to the Douglas County Fairgrounds by public transit, there will be a walk-through section as well. In the event of inclement weather, the events in Eudora will be moved indoors.
Anyone participating in the asymptomatic testing should not eat, brush their teeth, chew gum, smoke or drink anything other than water for 30 minutes prior to the test. All tests will be saliva PCR tests, which the health department said are “currently the most effective way to detect COVID-19 infection.” Participants will have to spit into a tube to provide their sample, and results should be available in 24 hours or less.
The health department recommends asymptomatic people get tested in order to identify carriers of COVID-19 and prevent them from spreading it to others. If an asymptomatic individual tests positive, they will be required to isolate for 10 days.
Douglas County reported 3,979 cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, an increase of 70 cases since Monday. In Douglas County, 3,100 out of the 3,979 cases are inactive or beyond the infectious period, according to Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, meaning 879 cases are active.
The county has averaged about 61 new cases per day over the last 14 days, according to a 14-day moving average graph updated weekdays by the health department. The current average of 61.29 new cases per day is the highest number the county has seen since the start of the pandemic. It is up from a recent low of 18 cases per day in mid-October.
Twenty-eight inpatients at Lawrence’s hospital had COVID-19 on Tuesday night. Twenty county residents have died from the virus thus far.