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Free testing events next week

More free community testing events for COVID-19 are scheduled for next week.

The city of Suffolk and Western Tidewater Health District have scheduled five events for next week, including three that partner with churches in the city to use their locations.

“Community testing is an important aspect of this battle,” a city news release stated. “Community connections and involvement are an important factor as together we move forward in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Residents who wish to be tested are encouraged to either drive up or walk up to the testing sites. All testing offered at these locations is free and open to all, but social distancing in the walk-up portion of the facility will be required. Free hand sanitizers and face masks will also be provided to attendees, courtesy of the Governor’s Equity Task Force.

The tests are a nasopharyngeal swab that tests for current presence of the virus. Asymptomatic carriers may test positive if they have the virus. This is not an antibody test, and unless you currently have the virus, cannot tell if you have previously been exposed to it.

Test results will be provided within three to four business days. Those testing positive will be contacted by phone. Those testing negative will be sent results via U.S. Mail to the address provided.

The city and the Suffolk Health Department expressed their appreciation to the participating churches for their involvement in these events, including the Rev. Mary Anne Biggs, pastor of Oakland Christian United Church of Christ; the Rev. Dr. Steven Blunt, senior pastor of First Baptist Church — Mahan Street; and Bishop A.S. Hall Sr., of Balm Church.

You do not need to be a parishioner or member of the participating churches in order to receive this free testing. It is open to all.

The testing events are scheduled as follows:

  • Monday, July 20, 9 to 11 a.m., Whaleyville Recreation Center, 132 Robertson St.
  • Monday, July 20, 1 to 3 p.m., Oakland Christian United Church of Christ, 5641 Godwin Blvd.
  • Tuesday, July 21, 9 to 11 a.m., Suffolk Health Department, 135 Hall Ave.
  • Wednesday, July 22, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., First Baptist Church — Mahan Street, 112 Mahan St.
  • Wednesday, July 22, 3 to 5 p.m., Balm Church, 523 E. Washington St.

For more information, call 514-4700.