AUGUSTA — When the pandemic began in March 2020, Covid-19 tests were scarce.
When vaccines were first being rolled out in December, they were few and far between, only for first responders, immunocompromised individuals and senior citizens.
Now, fast-forward a year and a half, and getting tested and vaccinated has never been easier in Hampshire County.
Right now, West Virginia Labs is setting up a mobile Covid testing unit in the Hampshire Memorial Hospital parking lot on Sunrise Summit from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Results from this free testing will take 24 hours to get back.
If, after the 24 hours, you receive a positive test result, you must stay home.
And, because of contact tracing measures aimed at minimizing community exposure to the virus, that means you will also be contacted by the health department to determine who your close contacts are, in order for them to be notified.
“Testing is encouraged after an exposure ideally 3 to 5 days after exposure,” said Tamitha Wilkins, Health Department director. “When testing, each person needs to isolate, either symptomatic or not, until test results come back.”
What about folks who have been vaccinated?
“Vaccinated and unvaccinated (folks) should get tested due to the Delta variant circulating,” Wilkins added. “Several cases of vaccinated cases have been asymptomatic or very mild symptoms.”
This weekend, the health department posted on their Facebook page a clarification for those who are not vaccinated: “If you’re a close contact and you’ve been vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine unless you have symptoms come up, in which case you should get tested. If you’re unvaccinated, you will need to quarantine for 14 days following exposure.”
The health department has extended their hours on Sept. 20 until 6 p.m. for folks looking for a vaccine. Call them at 304-496-9640 for an appointment.
In addition to offering contact tracing services and vaccines, the health department is also offering flu shots at their location on Route 50 in Augusta, beginning this week. Folks interested in a flu vaccine should also call to schedule an appointment. o