LAWRENCE – Asymptomatic COVID-19 mass testing events for Douglas County residents will begin on Nov. 21, and events are planned in each Douglas County city from Nov. 21-Nov. 25.
The testing will be free for Douglas County residents, but an appointment is required. Anyone wanting to schedule a time to be tested can login via the following link: bit.ly/LDCPHcovidtest
“These mass testing events in our community will help us to identify people who might be asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 and prevent them from spreading it to others, especially those who might be especially vulnerable, such as individuals over 65 years of age or those with certain medical conditions,” said Linda Craig, Director of Clinic Services at Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health.
The testing events scheduled now will be:
- Lawrence: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 21, Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper St.**
- Lawrence: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 24, Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper St.
- Eudora: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 22, Eudora Community Center, 1638 Elm St.*
- Eudora: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 25, Eudora Community Center, 1638 Elm St.*
- Baldwin City: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 23, Baldwin City Library, 800 7th St.
- Lecompton: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 22, Lecompton Elementary School, 626 Whitfield St.
*All events will be drive-through. In the event of inclement weather, the events in Eudora will be moved indoors.
**For individuals who are arriving via public transit to the Fairgrounds, a walk-through section will be available as well.
LMH Health announced the funding received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. One major area of focus for LMH Health’s funding request was testing in three specific areas: mass community testing, school baseline testing and healthcare and first responder surveillance testing. LMH Health has been allotted a total of 55,000 tests which will be delegated among these different areas.
Over the past few months, LMH Health has been working in partnership with its clinicians and Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health (LDCPH) to identify highest and best use for testing in these three areas, and the testing events in Douglas County cities address the mass community testing portion of the plan.
This testing is for asymptomatic individuals. Anyone feeling symptoms that could be consistent with COVID, please contact your doctor or the health department to be screened for testing, 785-856-4343.
For the asymptomatic testing events, individuals should not eat, drink (other than water), brush teeth, chew gum, or smoke 30 minutes prior to the test.
Here are frequently asked questions about the testing:
Why should I consider getting tested, even if I don’t have symptoms?
Although many people who are infected with COVID-19 become symptomatic, others do not show symptoms but can still spread the illness to others. Getting tested helps to identify people who might be asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 and prevent them from spreading it to others, especially those who might be especially vulnerable, such as individuals over 65 years of age or those with certain medical conditions.
What is the method of testing?
The tests are saliva PCR tests. The individual will be required to spit into a tube in order to provide the sample. Staff will be available to answer any questions while the sample is being collected. Additionally, the individual being tested must not eat, drink (other than water), or brush their teeth for 30 minutes prior to the test. If someone arrives having done so, they will be asked to schedule a new appointment.
How will I get my results? Who else has access to them?
The lab will text results to the mobile number provided on the consent form. The turnaround time for results is 24 hours or less. If a positive test is found, it will be reported to Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health for contact tracing purposes as required by law.
What if I test positive?
If someone tests positive, they will be required to isolate for 10 days following the positive test if they are not sick. If they are sick, even with mild symptoms, they are required to isolate 10 days following the start date of the symptoms. That person will be able to return to work, school and regular activities at the end of the isolation period. Tests will be made available to household members of individuals who test positive.
What happens if someone I know tests positive?
Through contact tracing, health officials identify close contacts or anyone who has been within 6 feet for longer than 10 minutes of an infected individual or potentially had direct contact with their saliva or mucus, such as by being coughed or sneezed on or through sharing of utensils.
LDCPH works to determine close contacts, who are asked to quarantine at home for 14 days following their last exposure to the positive case to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Testing will be made available to the close contacts; however, a negative test does not release a close contact from quarantine. One cannot test out of quarantine.
Only direct contacts of a positive case are asked to quarantine. If someone in your household is identified as a close contact, then only that person, not the entire household, is asked to quarantine.
What will be done with my sample after it has been tested?
The lab we are using uses a pooling strategy for tests, meaning they combine several tests together and identify whether the pooled sample was positive or negative. If negative, all samples included in the lot will be considered negative. If the pooled sample gets a positive result, the test will be re-run on all the samples within that lot to identify the positive sample. Saliva samples will be held back for the purposes of re-testing in this manner. The samples will ONLY be used to identify the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19 and will not be analyzed for other purposes such as genome sequencing.
Why are you using a PCR test instead of a rapid antigen or antibody test?
A PCR test is currently the most effective way to detect COVID-19 infection.
Antibody tests measure antibody levels in the blood to determine if someone has been exposed to the virus. Unfortunately, these tests aren’t particularly specific in what they measure, and sometimes pick up on antibodies developed to other coronaviruses or other respiratory pathogens. They are unable to say definitively whether someone was recently infected.
Antigen tests are not as specific and often require confirmatory testing to rule out a false positive or false negative. They are best used in an outbreak setting or when individuals are being tested frequently (i.e., every day or every other day).
What if I have been tested previously?
If an individual has been tested previously and the test was negative, they will still be eligible for a test.
If an individual has been tested previously and the test was positive, that person is They are advised not to seek testing for 90 days following the test. If, during those 90 days, the person becomes symptomatic, we recommend they work with a doctor to evaluate their case.