July 16, 2020

Media Contact: Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region,


— Services are by appointment only —

(CHRISTIANSBURG, Virginia) – The New River Valley Public Health Task Force will hold drive-thru COVID-19 testing on Tuesday, July 21 at Giles High School, 1825 Wenonah Ave. in Pearisburg, and on Thursday, July 23 at Blacksburg High School, 3401 Bruin Lane in Blacksburg. Testing at both sites will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

These are clinical sites, not open to the public. Individuals will be tested by appointment. For questions about COVID-19 or to request an appointment for testing, call the New River Health District’s COVID-19 public health call center at 540-267-8240. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. After hours, leave a message.

“We have administered more than 7,800 COVID-19 tests since beginning broad community testing,” said Noelle Bissell, M.D., director of the New River Health District. “Testing helps paint the picture of what COVID-19 looks like in our community. As we detect cases with testing, we can more quickly identify contacts and mitigate the spread of the disease through recommendations for isolation or quarantine, and further testing.”

“Remember that the best protection for each of us comes from personal precautions, including hygiene and physical distancing,” Dr.  Bissell continued. “That’s how you protect yourself and those around you.”

“The task force has created a mobile, flexible and scalable testing engine that is deployed across the New River Valley, as needed,” said Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson. “We hold testing sites in all of our communities, typically on a rotating basis, but always responsive to the need as it evolves.”

To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to:

  • Practice physical distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public;
  • Stay home as much as possible, especially if you are at higher risk of serious illness;
  • If you must go out in public, wear a cloth face covering, especially in places where physical distancing (six feet or more) cannot be maintained;
  • Avoid close contact with crowds of any size, and avoid any crowd of more than 250 people;
  • Stay home when you are sick;
  • Avoid contact with sick people;
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, your elbow or your sleeve (not your hands), when coughing or sneezing;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and
  • If you are experiencing symptoms, call your doctor.

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

#     #     #


News media access is not available at Giles High School on Tuesday, July 21.

News media access to Blacksburg High School on Thursday, July 23 is available only by advance request and appointment. Access will be escorted, for the purposes of photography and videography from a distance.

These measures are necessary to ensure patient privacy and operational security. Your cooperation is appreciated.

For more information and to request news media access to Blacksburg High School, contact Robert Parker, public information officer, Virginia Department of Health, Western Region,