By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – It did not take long for people to begin taking advantage of free COVID-19 testing in Warsaw.
Plans for a drive-thru clinic at Central Park, run by the Indiana Department of Health, were announced Monday afternoon and cars started showing up 30 minutes before it began at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 14.
Set up in the west parking lot, two “swabbers” and three people helping register were part of a small crew working Tuesday morning at the drive-thru testing site.
The staff can provide about 200 tests per day and notification of the results will come back within about three to five days, said Phil Waters, site coordinator for the state department of health.
The free clinic will run Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for at least two weeks.
“Once we get through this initial rush, there should never be a wait of more than 15 to 20 minutes,” Waters said Tuesday morning.
Warsaw was one of 12 cities in Indiana to begin receiving additional testing through the state this week.
Community selections were based on per capita cases, testing and positivity rates and other factors, the state health department said in a statement.
The drive-thru clinic is open to anyone older than age 12 who lives or works in Indiana. Insurance is not required. A Spanish translator is available.
Individuals who are tested will receive an email or text message with the results when they become available.
Paul Tharp and his wife, Deb, were lined up early to get the test. His age and diabetes were the underlying reason for getting tested.
They were eager for the opportunity.
“You’d think anybody would if it’s free and the virus is out there right now,” Tharp said.
His concluding thought? “I thank everybody for the opportunity to do this.”
Michelle Marshall, a teacher at Claypool Elementary, said she has had some symptoms which she thinks are related to allergies.
“I’m going to be teaching next week for summer school and I thought it would be the responsible thing to do to see if it is my allergies,” Marshall said.
She’s gearing up for work with some level of apprehension.
“I think anyone would have reservations about the transmission of the disease, but I am choosing to go back to work, so I’m moving toward what our leaders have called for,” she said.
By 3 p.m., two lines with more than 10 vehicles were waiting to be tested.
Waters said traffic had been steady for the first six hours but was unsure how many had been tested so far.