(WDTN) – With so many people testing positive for COVID-19, finding a test can be difficult. Those tests can be even harder to come by in rural communities.
Jason Menchhofer, health commissioner for Mercer County, said there is one mass testing site in the county and the libraries are completely out of the free rapid tests right now.
“We’re actually fairly fortunate to have to a drive-thru testing facility operated by Mercer Health, our local hospital system in Celina, to meet the needs of people who need that kind of testing,” Menchhofer said.
To the south in Preble County, there are no mass testing sites available and the libraries are also out of rapid tests.
“We don’t have many opportunities for test sites. We have a couple local pharmacies making testing available when they have it available. For us here at the county, we’re not doing testing ourselves, but we are handing out over the counter test kits to community members who are ill. And even those are limited for us because we get our allotment from the state,” Christine Maggard, director of nursing for Preble County Public Health, said.
The state is having trouble getting those tests to send out to counties, and local pharmacies are also struggling to keep up with demand. This leads to some people in these rural communities not able to get tested right away.
“There are quite a few people telling us they are not able to get testing done. A lot of people are requesting testing because they’ve been exposed to somebody but they’re not yet showing symptoms, so with there being that shortage of test kits they’re being turned away for those purposes,” Maggard said.
The Ohio Department of Health is working to get testing kits out as soon as possible which will help these smaller communities have better access to much-needed supplies.