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Free COVID-19 tests offered at MetraPark next weekend

Posted at 12:20 PM, Jun 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-14 14:20:56-04

Yellowstone County Health announced free COVID-19 testing next week at MetraPark.

As most of the state's Tribes and several counties have already jumped in on community surveillance testing, RiverStone Health will offer it next weekend.

Health officials tell us they have 2,000 tests as of right now, but there could be more tests and testing days in the future.

Public testing will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 20, in the upper parking lot at MetraPark.

Community Surveillance testing across the state is part of Gov. Steve Bullock's, D-Mont., reopening plan for Montana.

A doctor’s order is not needed.

However, only people without COVID-19 symptoms and the ability to swirl a Q-tip-like swab into each nostril will be tested.

The testing will help public health do a better job of preventing community spread of the virus.

The test is a molecular (PCR) test, not an antibody test.

It will only indicate if an individual has the virus at this time, not if they have had the virus in the past.

"You would expect that the numbers of positive would be very small," said John Felton, Yellowstone County Health Officer and Riverstone Health President & C.E.O. "But you wouldn't expect it to be zero. And so that does help because we know people are asymptomatic who are positive for the disease. So it does help us get a handle on what might be going on and also again to get an early jump on contact tracing and prevention of further outbreaks."

Rivertone Health will notify all Yellowstone County participants of their test results.