RICHMOND, Va. -- People who live in Richmond and Henrico can now sign up to get a free COVID-19 PCR test at the Richmond Raceway.
The community testing center (CTC), which is the state's first of nine mass testing sites, opened Saturday at 9 a.m. and has appointments daily through Thursday, Jan. 13, according of officials with the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts. [Click here to make an appointment.]
The health district is also offering community-based testing clinics by appointment at Deep Run Recreation Center on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 and at the Southwood Apartments on Friday, Jan. 14. [Click here for info or call 804-205-3501 during business hours.]
In addition to the appointment-only clinics, RHHD is hosting two walk-in clinics, which are first come, first served while supplies last.
- Wednesday, Jan. 12 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Eastern Henrico Recreation Center (1440 N Laburnum Avenue)
- Thursday, Jan. 13 from 2 - 6 p.m. at Southside Plaza (509 East Southside Plaza)
“We have learned from the vaccination effort that a mixture of appointments and walk up opportunities is a good thing,” RHHD Emergency Manager Jessica Coughlin said. “The appointments allow folks to have short wait times and know that there is a spot guaranteed for them; meanwhile, walk up opportunities can reduce barriers to accessing an appointment, particularly for our communities with limited internet access.”
Health department officials will track demand and capacity and may add on additional events.
Additionally, RHHD officials said they will alert the public when more at-home COVID-19 tests come in, which is expected toward the end of next week.
"Pharmacies, urgent care facilities, and private providers may also have COVID-19 tests available to the public this weekend and next week," officials said.
Click here for more info on COVID-19 testing and vaccination opportunities in the Richmond and Henrico communities or call 804-205-3501.
Richmond Raceway is 1st of 9 testing centers to open in Virginia
Virginia Department of Health officials said the Richmond Raceway site, along with eight other CTCs across the state, will help meet the surge in demand for COVID-19 testing.
The additional CTC testing sites will be near or adjacent to existing VDH Community Vaccination Centers in Charlottesville, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Newport News, Norfolk, Prince William and Roanoke that have been operating since October.
The new testing centers, which are expected to administer more than 50,000 tests in January, will be open between 4-6 days per week and will be open from 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., depending on the location, officials said.
"These CTCs will be in addition to existing Community Testing Events (CTEs) which have been locally coordinated testing efforts through local health departments (LHDs) and specific community partners since Spring 2020," officials said.
Officials said to watch for more information from your local health department or health district to get a link to book an appointment.
"PCR test results are usually available within a few days, and are very effective in detecting an active COVID-19 infection, even if asymptomatic," officials said.
People will receive their test results automatically via text or email based on the info they provided in the appointment system, offcials said.
Gov. Ralph Northam said the Community Testing Centers will be funded with an initial $5 million from the Virginia Department of Health, which is seeking FEMA funding to reimburse expenses and continue testing deployment.
“Testing is a critical tool in our fight against COVID-19, and we must continue to everything we can do increase access,” Northam said. “As Virginians continue to grapple with a national shortage of rapid tests, expanding our PCR capabilities will ensure more Virginians have access to free, reliable testing and can better protect themselves and their families.”
Health department officials urged people to get tested if they have symptoms, or if they have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, regardless of their vaccination status.
VDH recommends testing on day 5 after exposure, although testing on days 3-5 is also acceptable.
Because of the high demand for testing and for the health system, officials urged people who do not have symptoms or a known exposure, to postpone any non-essential travel or events that would require them to be tested.
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Virginians age 5+ are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Pre-registration is no longer required, so go to Vaccine Finder to search for specific vaccines available near you or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343).
Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?
People are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
How to Protect Yourself and Others When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated
COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.
These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.