By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – Bowen Center, with plenty of support, quickly relocated its free COVID-19 test facility in Warsaw from Dubois Drive to the Kosciusko County Fairgrounds.
The new site is using the Shrine Building at the fairgrounds for its headquarters. Two drive-through structures were constructed on the north side of the building, and cars quickly started lining up Monday morning.
The move was done primarily to accommodate workers administering the tests and protect them from the cold of winter, according to Kurt Carlson, CEO and president at Bowen Center.
The building also offers a kitchen, restrooms and Wi-Fi.
They decided to make the move Friday. A path with added gravel was added Monday.
The change, Carlson said, was done “at the speed of need.”
Seven weeks ago, when Bowen opened the test facility on Dubois Drive, organizers were told to expect 50 to 100 people per day. They exceeded that on the first day and numbers began to rise and the spread of the virus worsened.
Last week, they provided 1,672 tests.
On Wednesday, during a news conference, Carlson thanked County Commissioner Brad Jackson, County Administrator Marsha McSherry, the county fair board, the fair office manager, Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer and Health Department Administrator Bob Weaver for helping make the Shrine Building available.
County Health Officer Dr. William Remington on Wednesday applauded efforts by Bowen Center and the community for its support.
“I’m so thankful the site is up and running. Without it, I’d hate to see where we’d be at this point in this county,” Remington said.
Testing is available at the site from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
The site will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26; Friday, Nov. 27, Christmas Eve, Dec. 24; Christmas Day, Dec. 25; New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31; and New Year’s Day, Jan. 1.
Tests are free and available to anyone two years old and up. A doctor’s referral and insurance are not needed. Those who need testing also do not have to reside in Kosciusko County. Technicians are bilingual in both Spanish and English.
For more information, call (574) 372-3517 or (574) 372-2353.