CLEVELAND (WJW) — Ohio National Guard Major General John C. Harris, Jr on Monday offered new details on the effort to help Northeast Ohio hospitals deal with the surge in COVID cases and the testing site that opened in University Circle.
The two are holding the event with support from the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.
As of 12:05 p.m., Cleveland Clinic officials said anyone not currently in line would be turned away. The site will open again at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Major General Harris said during the press conference that the testing site shows just how great is the demand for testing.
He said the testing site is accomplishing what they set out to do – to lessen the burden on ER workers.
The National Guard will take their direction from ODH and is expecting to see a large number of guardsmen and women being deployed to hospitals on Thursday as cases continue to surge.
Major General Harris said it takes time to deploy members due to COVID screening and HIPPA training.
He said they are reconsidering the location of the testing site after they needed to cut off the large line on Monday morning and its hinderance to the city’s traffic.
Regular testing protocols will be in place for the guard members through out their deployment.
“Rapid self-testing kits may be available at many retail pharmacies in your community. You may also try to schedule a testing appointment online with health systems and clinics,” the Cleveland Clinic said in a release. “Please do not go to the emergency department for a COVID-19 test.”
The testing is located in the garage of the W. O. Walker Building in University Circle at 10524 Euclid Ave. in Cleveland.
Cars began lining up before 9 a.m. on the first day.
It’ll be open through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this week, but closed on Saturday, December 25.
You don’t need an appointment but will need to register before to coming to the site. **For now, registration has been paused, due to overwhelming demand for testing.**
The testing is free and open to everyone. You’ll need to wear a mask except during testing.
You don’t need a doctor’s order to get a test.
You’ll take a PCR test and have your results in 2-3 days.
Northeast Ohio is currently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 infections and, starting Tuesday, Northeast Ohio hospitals will limit COVID-19 testing in emergency departments to patients who are going to be admitted to the hospital.
The ODH, Cleveland Clinic and UH ask those in need of testing to use the Walker Center Cleveland Community COVID-19 Testing Site instead of the ER so that emergency department personnel can focus on urgent medical emergencies.
On Monday, 1,050 Ohio Army National Guard troops began fanning out across the state to help hospitals manage large numbers of COVID-19 patients.
The ODH is offering free rapid at-home antigen testing kits at many sites across the state of Ohio, including local health departments, public libraries, and community health centers. These self-testing kits may also be available for purchase at local pharmacies and retailers.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines say that if a patient is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and receives a positive test result on a self-test kit, that person does not need a PCR test to confirm a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, and should immediately isolate and work with public health officials for any necessary contact tracing.
ODH says it is working closely with the Ohio National Guard to train them as quickly and safely as possible before deployment in a series of waves. They anticipate that by later this week, all 150 clinical Ohio National Guard members will be deployed, along with up to 600 non-clinical Ohio National Guard staff, with the remaining 300 Ohio National Guard members to be deployed next week.
A list of specific hospital facilities utilizing the Ohio National Guard is not yet available.