Personal safety, protecting loved ones cited as reasons for getting free coronavirus tests after holiday weekend


DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Public Health of Dayton and Montgomery County administered roughly one-thousand free COVID-19 tests at a new pop-up site at the county fairgrounds Tuesday.

Testing was held from noon to 5:30 p.m. It was free and no appointment or doctor’s note was needed. The lines started early as dozens of people braved the cold and wind to get tested and protect themselves and their families. 

Shante Bates says, “It’s been a struggle for some. I had a relative who actually lost her husband to COVID. Lost some friends, I actually have some friends now experiencing some COVID issues.” 

The coronavirus continues to have a significant impact on Shante and her family. Now she’s getting tested for the second time. “One of my coworkers just tested positive for COVID and my husband has cancer so I didn’t want to bring anything back.” 

Other people shared similar reasons for lining up before the doors even opened at the latest COVID testing site. Jacqueline Momin says, “I’m vulnerable. My husband and I both are. He’s a kidney transplant recipient.” 

Christopher Tschirhart waited in line to get tested for the first time. He says, “I had someone close to me test positive, so my work told me I have to have 14 days quarantine and get tested.” 

It’s Kim Hardin’s second time being tested. She went because “I’ve had a cold for four or five days, six days, something like that.” 

While Public Health cautioned people against gathering for Thanksgiving, they recognize many people likely still did. So they want those people to get tested so they know their status. Public Health’s Dan Suffoletto says, “We want to make sure those people are safe so if you did travel, come get tested to make sure you’re not positive when you return.” 

As the winter season progresses, Suffoletto says one of the hardest things to do is also one of the most important: stay vigilant. “They do that when they’re out, but where they may lapse is when they’re at home. When they’re with family and friends, a neighbor comes over, a brother stops by.” 

The next phase of the fight against the coronavirus is the distribution of the vaccines once they’re available. 

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