July 2, 2020

Media Contact: Kristin Adkins, M.P.A., population health manager, Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts,, 540-204-9972


— Anyone can be infected, and infect others, without ever knowing it. Get tested to know your status! —

(COVINGTON, Virginia) — The Alleghany Health District will offer free testing for COVID-19 on Tuesday, July 7 from 4 to 7 p.m., at Alleghany High School, 210 Mountaineer Drive in Covington. Two hundred tests will be offered to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. No appointment is needed. Test results are confidential.

Testing is available to all Virginia residents age 18 and up, regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms. Testing also is available to children ages 2 and up, if accompanied by a consenting parent or guardian, and if the child is able to cooperate with the testing process (a deep nasal swab).

You may drive-thru or walk up. Please wear a cloth face covering or mask and practice physical distancing. If driving, we encourage those wishing to be tested to sit at a window. For the safety of the testing staff, please keep windows rolled up until told otherwise.

“Testing is important epidemiologically to help us determine the extent of disease in our community,” said Molly O’Dell, M.D., director of communicable disease for the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts. “We know that COVID-19 has been widespread across Virginia for months and the risk of transmission is present everywhere in the state and in states bordering our area.”

“There are many reasons people are reluctant to be tested,” said Dr. O’Dell. Here is the truth about some common concerns and myths about COVID-19 and testing:

  • “What about my privacy? If I get tested, it’ll be spread all over social media.” Test results are private records. VDH does not share them publicly.
  • “We don’t have many cases. It’s a hoax, nothing to worry about.” Reputable scientific organizations and medical experts around the world have declared this to be a global pandemic. This is a scientifically proven fact. COVID-19 has been widespread with community transmission throughout Virginia for more than two months. Cases and hospitalizations are in every health district in Virginia. See the data at
  • “I haven’t gone anywhere to catch COVID-19.” The risk of exposure is everywhere. Personal precautions, including distance, hygiene and face coverings, are the best ways to protect yourself and those around you. There is no safe place. There is only safe behavior.
  • “I have to build up my immune system by exposing myself to COVID-19.” This is a novel virus. It’s new, extremely infectious, no one has immunity and we do not yet fully understand how dangerous it can be. There is no vaccine, and no widely available treatment if you do get ill.
  • “If I test positive. I can’t afford to stay home for several days. I will get fired.” VDH encourages employers to provide safe work environments, and accommodations for employees who are ill or concerned about the risk of exposure.

“Finally, we continue to stress the importance of taking personal precautions, including traveling only when essential, practicing good hygiene, wearing face coverings when close to people not from your household and physical distancing,” Dr. O’Dell concluded. “That’s how YOU stay well, and how you protect those around you today, your family and friends, and our communities. We are still all in this together!”

For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please visit:, and

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