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Free drive-thru COVID testing Thursday at the Diamond

Posted at 7:04 AM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 07:09:09-05

RICHMOND, Va. — The Richmond and Henrico Health Districts planned to hold a free drive-thru COVID-19 community testing event at the Diamond on Thursday.

The event was set to last from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m., and Health Director, Dr. Danny Avula said they had about 400 tests to administer.

He said due to demand, they expected it to be a busy event.

Health officials encouraged anyone who traveled out of state or attended a gathering over the Thanksgiving holiday to get tested.

They also reminded the public that getting tested after traveling could be just as important as before.

The testing event was set for Thursday, according to Avula, since that would be about five to seven days after many may have been exposed over the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Particularly after you've been in a scenario where you have had potential exposure, you've been with a lot of family members, or you've gone to a large gathering, the risk is real,” said Avula. “You know, we're seeing higher rates of COVID in our community than we have, at any point during this pandemic.”

Avula said the purpose of the COVID-19 testing event was twofold: to help provide opportunities for people to get tested, and also, to prepare for mass vaccinations.

The Diamond was one of many sites the health officials planned to use for vaccination events, according to Avula — something that could be right on the horizon.

“Our FDA is meeting, is currently reviewing the data from Pfizer's application,” said Avula. “They expect to have a decision by December 10. If their decision is positive that they've looked at all the data, and they're sufficiently convinced of both the effectiveness and the safety of the vaccine, they will issue an emergency use authorization. And vaccine has already started to be pre-positioned in certain areas. But I would expect we would have the vaccine on the ground as early as the week of December 14 here in Central Virginia.”

In the meantime, for anyone planning to come to Thursday’s testing event at The Diamond, Avula recommended they pre-register by calling 804-205-3501.