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WILLIAMSON — High-risk Mingo County residents with symptoms of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including those who work in health care, public safety or essential business employees, have a new option for free testing: drive-thru.

According to press release from Mingo County Health Department Administrator Keith Blankenship, testing will be by pre-screening first. Those who are experiencing fever, cough and shortness of breath or those that have been in close contact with a confirmed case are encouraged to call 304-899-6119 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday or 304-235-3570 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday for the pre-screening.

All after-hours calls will be recorded by an answering service, and the patient will be called back the next day. People who do not have symptoms or do not meet the criteria will not be eligible for testing.

This community-based drive-thru testing site is being coordinated by the Mingo County Health Department, Williamson Memorial Hospital, Mingo County Commission, Williamson Health & Wellness Center, local health providers and the West Virginia National Guard, in partnership with the City of Williamson and the Mingo County Emergency Services.

Other eligible criteria include those 60 years or older, women who are pregnant and patients with underlying medical conditions or immunocompromised.

People still should contact their medical provider for guidance and assessment if they have symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat and/or shortness of breath. For medical emergencies, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that you may have COVID-19.

Those who meet the pre-screening call will be given an appointment time and a testing identifier number. Patients must bring their photo ID and insurance card/information for private lab testing. All testing will be at no charge to the patient.

Testing will be in the large parking lot at Williamson Memorial Hospital at 859 Alderson St., in Williamson. Vehicles will enter at Harvey Street with a checkpoint in the parking lot of the previous Williamson High School between Harvey Street and Pike Street.

People who are being tested should arrive 15 minutes before their appointment, and they will remain in their cars the entire time.