LEDGER — As cases continue to rise in the region, it is now easier to get tested for COVID-19 in Mitchell County.
A no-cost, drive-through testing site has been set up at the Mitchell County Senior Center at 152 Ledger School Road.
Testing at the site began on Friday, Dec. 11 and testing is offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. until the end of the year.
As of Wednesday, Dec. 16, Mitchell County has 167 active positive cases and 20 COVID-related deaths. In neighboring counties, Avery has 186 active positive cases and 19 COVID-related deaths and Yancey has 210 active positive cases and eight COVID-related deaths.
To get tested, patients can visit www.lhi.care/covidtesting where they will choose their location and need to register as a patient. Each patient is provided with a patient ID, which they need to have when they arrive for their appointment.
After registering, patients can schedule an appointment by choosing a location.
For Mitchell County, the location is the Mitchell County Senior Center. From there, they can choose a time frame for their appointment, for example, 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.
When a patient arrives for a test, they will visit two checkpoints. The first checkpoint will be to provide their patient ID, a photo ID to confirm their address and report any symptoms they might have.
The second checkpoint will be the test itself, which will happen through the patient’s vehicle window with a swab in each nostril.
After receiving the test, patients are free to go, but it is highly recommended patients quarantine until they receive the results.
Because it is a lab test, not a rapid test, patients will receive their results on the LHI website in a few days. When results are ready, the patient will be notified via email, text or phone call.
Testing is provided through the company OptumServe, which was hired by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in an effort to help local health departments across the state.
According to OptumServe, anyone who meets testing criteria can be tested including “uninsured, underinsured, undocumented and homeless individuals.”
The company will create a unique identification number for individuals who do not have a driver’s license. Additionally, a doctor’s referral is not required.