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CHILLICOTHE, OH (Oct. 26, 2020) – Adena Health System, the Ross County Commissioners, the City of Chillicothe, Ross County Health District and Chillicothe City School District have joined forces to assist qualified Ross County residents in gaining free access to COVID-19 testing. Qualifications for this testing include: the person must be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or if asymptomatic, must have been in contact with a person identified as carrying the Novel Coronavirus.
The Ross County Commissioners have allocated Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to cover the cost of testing for any qualified resident of Ross County who needs a test. Adena Health System will execute the testing program through its multiple COVID-19 testing facilities, after the person contacts the Adena COVID-19 Hotline at 740-542-SAFE (7233).
“Ross County was fortunate to be awarded funds from the CARES Act,” said Commissioner Steve Neal. “The costs associated with COVID-19 testing is forcing some families to make a decision to forgo or delay testing when experiencing symptoms of the virus. This collaboration with Adena, the City of Chillicothe, and the Ross County Health District gives us an opportunity to provide testing for qualified Ross County residents at no cost to them, and saving lives.”
If a resident of Ross County – or any county in the south central and southern Ohio region – believes they have symptoms of Coronavirus; or if they are not showing symptoms but have been in contact with someone confirmed to have the virus, they should call the Adena COVID-19 Hotline before seeking care. Once callers access the COVID-19 Hotline, a screener will conduct a brief interview to determine if testing is needed. An appointment will then be set up for the caller at one of Adena’s Urgent Care testing facilities throughout the region.
Patients with COVID-19 symptoms will:
· Be scheduled for a required exam at the testing location; and
· Testing will be administered and sent to Adena’s lab for processing.
Patients not showing symptoms but who have been in contact with a COVID-positive person will:
· Be scheduled for a curbside nasal swab at their nearest testing facility;
· The patient will NOT exit their vehicle; and
· Receive a COVID PCR Test with results provided in two to five days, depending on statewide testing volume.
Because of the virus’ high risk to others, COVID-19 testing is NOT a walk-in service at Adena Urgent Care locations or physician offices. For anyone in need of a test, the first act is to CALL Adena’s COVID-19 Hotline at 542-SAFE to begin the process of setting up an appointment.
Expanding community-wide testing also includes the addition of in-school testing for any Chillicothe City Schools student. This in-school testing is being provided with CARES Act funding that has been awarded to the City of Chillicothe.
“Any Chillicothe City Schools student with COVID-19 symptoms, or who has been identified by the Ross County Health District as being in contact with a COVID-19 positive person can be tested at school, and at no cost to their family,” said Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney. “By having in-school access to testing, school personnel can quickly identify and separate students who may be carrying the virus or exposed to it faster and more effectively.”
To be tested at school, a child’s parent or guardian must approve the use of in-school testing. Parents may also request testing for their child if they are symptomatic or if they have been exposed to a person confirmed to have the Novel Coronavirus.
With Chillicothe’s in-school testing program, the Ross County Health District is providing the testing swabs, with samples being collected by the school nurse. Once complete, the swab is taken by courier to Adena’s laboratory for processing and results. Non-symptomatic students will have the COVID PCR Test, which could take several days for processing, depending on statewide volumes. Symptomatic and asymptomatic students will be dismissed from school to quarantine or isolate – if showing symptoms – at home until they receive Health District clearance to return.
“Thanks to Mayor Feeney and the City of Chillicothe for identifying CARES Act funds to launch this needed testing protocol in our city schools,” said Debbie Swinehart, Superintendent, Chillicothe City Schools. “This assistance will enable us to identify and separate infected students, reducing risk to other students, faculty and staff.”
Testing costs for students attending Ross County area schools will be covered by the Ross County Commissioners CARES Act dollars. Testing is not currently being performed within county schools, but parents/guardians with a symptomatic child/children or a non-symptomatic child should begin the testing process for their child/children by first calling Adena’s COVID-19 HOTLINE at 740-542-SAFE and following the steps outlined above.
“The commitment of our community partners in supporting this specific health care need of individuals, families and children comes at a time when we are seeing more cases of the virus in our hometowns and region,” said Adena President and CEO Jeff Graham. “By making sure no family has to decide if or when to come forward for COVID-19 testing is nothing short of a blessing for many people, and the overall safety of our communities and region.”
To meet growing community need, Adena has doubled the number of staff serving patients through its COVID-19 Hotline, cutting down on-hold time. The Health System has also increased staff in its Urgent Care/Testing locations to meet the increasing number of people in need of COVID-19 testing, as well as treating the patients expected as we enter influenza season. Adena has begun similar talks with other communities in its nine-county service region.
Graham assured, “Despite this long span of providing intense care for patients with COVID-19, and the growing volumes of people entering the testing process, Adena’s dedicated caregivers continue to stand ready to navigate the current spike in cases, and to meet the health care needs of people in our communities.”