COVID-19 drive-thru clinic

John and Mary Jo Henderson have nasal swabs taken by Tiffany Denton, left, and Holly Leach as the Madison County Health Department held a drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic on Thursday at Beulah Park in Alexandria. The drive-thru was part of a testing push before Thanksgiving.

ALEXANDRIA — More than 1,000 residents were tested for COVID-19 at two drive-thru clinics Tuesday and at Anderson University in a push by the Madison County Health Department to identify asymptomatic cases, people who are infectious but show no symptoms, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Hundreds more lined up at Alexandria’s Beulah Park for a drive-thru clinic Thursday afternoon. That was followed by a final one Thursday evening at Callaway Park in Elwood.

“Certainly, testing all these people ahead of time isn’t fool-proof, it’s not a 100% means of prevention,” said Stephenie Grimes, Madison County Health Department administrator.

“However, hopefully identifying some asymptomatic cases might help shape opinions or choices that some may make before heading out to holiday gatherings,” she said.

A similar strategy will be used ahead of Christmas with drive-thru clinics scheduled for Dec. 19 at Harrah’s Hoosier Park in Anderson from 9 to 11 a.m. and at Beulah park in Alexandria from 1 to 3 p.m.

Additional clinics could be added. Follow the Health Department’s Facebook page or check its website for updates.

John and Mary Jo Henderson waited about 40 minutes to be tested at Beulah Park after John had been in contact with someone who tested positive.

“We’re quarantined together,” Mary Jo Henderson said.

If you missed the drive-thru clinic, testing is available Monday through Friday and every other Saturday at the Health Department, where staffers are testing about 100 to 120 people a day.

Appointments for testing can be made online.

The testing is free and you don’t need a referral from a doctor. You’ll only need identification. If you have one, a smartphone will speed up the paperwork process and your results will be sent via text direct from the lab in about three days.

“We’re going to incorporate rapid tests within the next few weeks, so we’ll have the capability real soon,” Grimes said.

The Health Department is also being remodeled to increase testing capacity.

Nursing students from Anderson University helped out with the testing push this week along with Madison County’s Emergency Management Agency volunteers who assisted with traffic control.

Grimes urged residents to remain diligent.

“Try to keep yourself from being a close contact. You do that by wearing your mask, keeping your distance and washing your hands,” Grimes said.

Follow Don Knight on Twitter

@donwknight, or call 765-622-1212, ext. 204567.

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