ELYRIA, Ohio (WJW) – Months after the coronavirus pandemic began, hundreds waited in bumper to bumper traffic for a free COVID-19 test.
The coronavirus pop-up test location outside of Elyria City Hall marked the first in Northeast Ohio according to organizers.
“Honestly we are overwhelmed with how much demand there is for COVID testing,” said Lorain County Health and Dentistry CEO Stephanie Wiersma.
People waiting to be tested did not require an appointment or doctor’s note to be seen. The pop-up location is part of the Ohio Department of Health and the governor’s effort to make tests easier to access in underserved areas.
“It’s good for everyone to be tested and to know if they have it or if they didn’t have it to help protect others,” said Carlotta Whitney from the passenger side of a car waiting in line.
Members of the Ohio National Guard were on site to assist. Many being tested told organizers they did not report symptoms of coronavirus.
“My mom is in the Avon clinic with COVID-19 so we decided we better all get tested,” said Linda Fleming.
Elyria Mayor Frank Whitfield along with police helped usher in traffic to the site, passing water bottles to those waiting in line outside and in their vehicles.
“Within the first two hours we already had 300 folks here so it’s going to be a lot of people,” said Mayor Whitfield.
Wiersma anticipated testing for at least 500 people. She along with city leaders plan to work with the governor’s office to facilitate another pop-up test site in the future.
“The important thing is to offer them in communities because there’s been such limited access to testing for months since we learned about COVID and so this is really critical to do locally,” she said.
Details on pop-up test dates and locations can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.