A half-day of free drive-thru COVID-19 testing will be offered to the general public at several locations over three days in the Panhandle starting Saturday.
During the Wednesday Panhandle COVID Unified Command Update, Director Kim Engel announced that the National Guard would be conducting the testing by appointment only, specifically for those who may have emerging symptoms as the weekend approaches, or believe they may have had an exposure.
The schedule will start May 9th with a half-day in Sidney in the morning, and then Oshkosh in the afternoon. Bridgeport will be host the morning site Sunday, followed by Alliance later that day. On May 11th, the morning site will be in Chadron, and Gordon in the afternoon.
Engel says PPHD had meetings Wednesday with health care and community leaders about the testing and physical sites have been identified, and a self-scheduler website will be pushed out closer to the testing dates. She says the testing is not related to TestNebraska, but a resource made available by the State of Nebraska in an effort to help reach Governor Ricketts’ goal of 3,000 tests per day.
Engel says those who may be symptomatic now should not wait for the weekend testing, but instead arrange to get tested immediately through their health care provider. The scheduling for the weekend testing will be in 15-minute intervals, and the scheduler for each site will not be available until about 24 hours before the testing is to take place.
PPHD will provide additional details on their website, as well as through the organization’s Facebook page. Engel says similar testing is expected to eventually return to Scotts Bluff and Kimball County locations, both of which already saw drive-thru testing that at that time was reserved for first responders and others believed to have been exposed to the virus.