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Free COVID-19 testing sites scheduled around area

Photo by Janelle Patterson Marietta College will host the second pop-up coronavirus testing clinic open to the public this Wednesday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and conducted by the Ohio National Guard. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

Free COVID-19 testing will be held in various places around the region as positive cases continue to rise.

A pop-up testing clinic will be open to the public Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Marietta College.

“The Ohio National Guard is having it, it’s just on our campus,” explained Tom Perry, vice president of communication and brand management for the college.

The drive-thru testing will be held in the Physician Assistant Parking lot at the corner of Butler and Third streets.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department announced it will have several free, drive-thru testing sites in Wood County this week:

Photo by Janelle Patterson Marietta College will host the second pop-up coronavirus testing clinic open to the public this Wednesday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and conducted by the Ohio National Guard. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

Today

¯ 9 a.m. to noon, West Virginia University at Parkersburg, 300 Campus Drive, Parkersburg; and

¯ 2 to 5 p.m., Grand Central Church of Christ, 5805 Grand Central Ave., Vienna.

Wednesday

¯ 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m., Health Department, 211 Sixth St., Parkersburg.

Thursday

¯ 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wood County parking lot, 315 Market St., Parkersburg; and

¯ 2 to 5 p.m., Vienna Baptist Church, 3401 Grand Central Ave., Vienna.

Sherry Ellem, Washington County Health Department public information officer, said part of the reason for the increase is people are relaxing their attitudes toward social distancing.

“We’ve been careful for so long, we do get lax,” she said. “I think it’s in our nature that it happens.”

She said the coronavirus is contagious and deadly and the health department wants to keep the viral load down.

“The more people who have it, the more people who get it,” she explained. “Good hygiene is what we’ve been saying all along. It’s easy to do, but it’s also easy to forget.”

Basic hygiene tips like hand washing and sanitizing surfaces often touched are important, but it’s becoming apparent the disease isn’t just passed through contact in the public.

“It’s most often passed with people we know,” Ellem explained. “It’s the people we care and love the most. We’re letting our guard down and we sit closer or be with them longer.”

She said with the influx in cases, the contact tracers have been busier than ever.

“There are so many new cases and we’re having trouble with contact tracing,” she said. “We have noticed people are seeing more people and they’re feeling more comfortable. When we see people, distance and wear a mask.”

The one thing the health department has seen many times is the virus spreading at family gatherings and “now we’re starting to see it at businesses and work sites.”

In a press release on Friday, she said a local business had an outbreak with seven confirmed cases.

As of Monday, there are 627 confirmed cases in Washington County. A month ago, there were only 355.

Jennifer Offenberger, associate vice president of service excellence at Marietta Memorial Hospital, said they continue to assess their resources to deal with the influx of patients.

“We have seen an increase of people being tested at our COVID center and patients admitted with COVID,” she said Monday. “We have the resources we need and continue to look at what our long-term plans need to be. Currently, we are in good shape for the COVID patients we have.’

Churches continue to be affected by the increase in numbers. A Facebook Live post from Pastors Justin and Heather Enoch of Warehouse Church in Vienna noted on Monday that two families had tested positive.

In response, they would only post their services online through the end of the year. They had been holding in-person services for almost two months.

“In times of crisis, the church should lead by example. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to do online church services for the rest of 2020,” Pastor Justin Enoch said Monday evening. “We are praying for and believing in faith that 2021 will be the best year for the global church.”

Ohio Gov. MIke DeWine’s office said there are currently more than 2,500 hospitalizations statewide, up from 2,000 hospitalizations on Thursday. A total of 154 hospitalizations were reported in the last 24 hours alone.

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