November 17, 2020
Media Contact: Allison Balmes-John, Allison.Balmes@vdh.virginia.gov, 540-226-1461
Rappahannock Area Health District Provides Thanksgiving Guidance and Free COVID-19 Testing
(Fredericksburg, Va.) – With COVID-19 cases rising locally, the Rappahannock Area Health District (RAHD) is urging the community to exercise caution this Thanksgiving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the highest risk activities for Thanksgiving include attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside your household and consuming alcohol, which leads to altered judgment and riskier behaviors. Moderate risk activities include having a small outdoor dinner with local family or friends, and the lowest risk activities include having a small dinner with your household members and using virtual platforms to connect with extended family and friends.
“We are strongly discouraging multiple households from gathering indoors this Thanksgiving, as this increases the risk for individuals to contract the virus or spread it to loved ones.” said Dr. Denise Bonds, Acting Health Director for RAHD. “We instead recommend people find creative ways to celebrate safely this holiday, either through enjoying turkey together over Zoom, dropping off food to family members, or moving celebrations outside with masks and distancing measures in place.”
For community members who do opt for small get-togethers for Thanksgiving, RAHD is offering multiple community testing events the weeks before and after Thanksgiving:
- Wednesday, November 18, 4 – 7 p.m. at Stafford Hospital
- Saturday, November 21, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the commuter parking lot at the corner of William St. and Sunken Rd. in Fredericksburg
- Monday, November 23, 4 – 7 p.m. at Stafford Hospital
- Monday, November 30, 1 – 4 p.m. at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center
- Wednesday, December 2, 4 – 7 p.m. at Stafford Hospital
- Friday, December 4, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. at Dixon Park in Fredericksburg
- Saturday, December 5, 9 a.m.- 12 p.m. at King George Elementary
- Monday, December 7, 1 – 4 p.m. at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center
- Wednesday, December 9, 4 – 7 p.m. at Stafford Hospital
- Friday, December 11, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. at Dixon Park in Fredericksburg
Community testing events are available to anyone age 16 and over at no cost, and no prescription or health insurance information is required. The test administered at all events is the PCR nasal swab that diagnoses active cases of the virus. Results will be available for all participants approximately three days after the event.
All events will be drive-thru, and individuals seeking testing should be seated near a window of the vehicle. All in attendance must wear a cloth face covering.
It is important to remember that getting tested is only one moment in time, and even those who receive negative results could go on to develop COVID-19 in the days that follow the test. Quarantining for 14 days is a better way to minimize the likelihood of contracting or spreading the virus. For those who wish to get tested after Thanksgiving, it is recommended to wait 5-7 days after a potential exposure for the most accurate results.
In light of Thanksgiving, RAHD would like to express our thanks to our many community partners who help make our community testing events possible, including Mary Washington Healthcare, Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, Stafford County Fire and Rescue, Fredericksburg Fire Department, Spotsylvania County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management; King George County Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services; Caroline County Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Management; the Virginia National Guard, and the Rappahannock Medical Reserve Corps.
Community members seeking testing can call 540-899-4797 to register in advance. Links to register online are available at www.vdh.virginia.gov/rappahannock/freecovid19testing. Pre-registration is appreciated but not required, and day-of registrations will also be accepted.
For more information on COVID-19 in Virginia, please visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus.
MEDIA NOTE: Limited news media access to the test site is available ONLY by advance request and appointment by contacting Allison Balmes-John (firstname.lastname@example.org). Access will be escorted, for the purposes of limited photography and videography from a distance. These measures are necessary to ensure patient privacy and operational security.