Mass testing underway after Jefferson Co. identified as COVID-19 hot spot

Updated: Aug. 27, 2020 at 3:51 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UPDATE: New data from the Alabama Department of Public Health shows that new surge testing centers in Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties are nowhere near testing capacity. The U.S. Department of Health and Human services donated resources that will allow these testing centers to test 5,000 people a day. But in the 5 days since testing began, the centers are only testing about 750 people a day.

Despite recently released CDC guidance that asymptomatic people should not get a test, Local health officials are urging anyone who has been around a lot of people or suspects contact to get tested even if you don’t have symptoms.

ORIGINAL: The White House Coronavirus Task Force and the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services have designated metro Birmingham as a COVID-19 hot spot.

They’re now teaming up with the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Jefferson County Department of Health to create surge spot testing.

Dr. David Hicks with the Jefferson County Department of Health said testing sites will be in Hoover at Riverchase Galleria (beginning Aug. 21) and in Center Point at Cathedral of the Cross AOH Church (beginning Aug. 24) for the next two weeks.

There will be at least 1,500 tests conducted daily. Anyone statewide is invited to be tested.

Tests are free and available for anyone living in Jefferson County who can self-swab, including children and regardless of symptoms. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You must register to be tested, which you can do by clicking here. Print the voucher and take it with you to the testing site. (If you do not have a printer, they can print your voucher at the testing site.) You will receive results in 3-5 days via email.

“We’re starting to come down, locally, but we have a ways to go,” said Dr. Hicks. “This is going to make sure we keep Alabama open, make sure we keep businesses open. So, to really stamp this out, we need a flood of testing to get done.”

Surgeon General Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. traveled to Hoover Friday to talk about new COVID-19 testing after Jefferson County was designated a hot spot.

Dr. Adams said the new surge testing sites at the Riverchase Galleria, in Center Point at Cathedral of the Cross AOH Church and now in Tuscaloosa was something that was started after a conversation with Governor Kay Ivey and seeing the need to get Alabama from red back to yellow when it comes to case numbers.

The red zone means as a state Alabama shows a higher than 10 percent positivity rate.

Adams did say Alabama is moving in the right direction, and he hopes this extra, free testing will help continue that trend. He also said Ivey’s statewide mask order is helping slow the spread of COVID-19.

Adams said President Trump and the White House Task Force were excited for his visit to Alabama.

Dr. Mark Wilson, Jefferson County Health Officer, said he and doctors want anyone to get tested who has been around a lot of people, even if you don’t have symptoms. The new testing centers can ultimately handle 60,000 tests.

Dr. Adams said remember the three Ws: Wash your hands, Wear a mask, Watch your distance.

Tests are free and available for anyone living in Jefferson County or Tuscaloosa who can self-swab, including children and regardless of symptoms. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You must register to be tested, which you can do by clicking here. Print the voucher and take it with you to the testing site. (If you do not have a printer, they can print your voucher at the testing site.) You will receive results in 3-5 days via email.

Testing in Tuscaloosa County is at the Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue Training and Logistics Center.

“While our healthcare partners have done an excellent job providing testing and medical services to our community, this opportunity from the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Surgeon General will help ensure that we can continue to provide accurate information and top-notch healthcare to any citizen who may need it,” said Mayor Walt Maddox.

The free drive-thru testing site will be available from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the parking lot located at 3311 Kauloosa Ave. Additional testing sites are located in Birmingham and Hoover. Testing is open to everyone regardless of symptoms and will be available while supplies last. Individuals who wish to be tested are encouraged to register online prior to testing. For more information, visit here.

ORIGINAL: The White House Coronavirus Task Force and the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services have designated metro Birmingham as a COVID-19 hot spot.

They’re now teaming up with the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Jefferson County Department of Health to create surge spot testing.

Dr. David Hicks with the Jefferson County Department of Health said testing sites will be in Hoover at Riverchase Galleria (beginning Aug. 21) and in Center Point at Cathedral of the Cross AOH Church (beginning Aug. 24) for the next two weeks.

There will be at least 1,500 tests conducted daily. Anyone statewide is invited to be tested.

Tests are free and available for anyone living in Jefferson County who can self-swab, including children and regardless of symptoms. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You must register to be tested, which you can do by clicking here. Print the voucher and take it with you to the testing site. (If you do not have a printer, they can print your voucher at the testing site.) You will receive results in 3-5 days via email.

“We’re starting to come down, locally, but we have a ways to go,” said Dr. Hicks. “This is going to make sure we keep Alabama open, make sure we keep businesses open. So, to really stamp this out, we need a flood of testing to get done.”

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