NewsMontana News


Riverstone Health gives free COVID-19 tests at MetraPark

Posted at 2:56 PM, Jun 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-21 17:04:28-04

Around 500 people came for free COVID-19 tests at the upper parking lot at MetraPark on Saturday.

RiverStone Health gave the free molecular (PCR) tests that indicate if some one has the virus, and is not an anitbody test for past infections.

"They're given instructions," said Shawn Hinz, Deputy Health Officer and Riverstone Vice-President of Public Health Services. "And then there's a medical provider outside of the car window, instructing them as to how to insert the swab into their nose, and twirl it, making sure that enough time lapses for a good test and making sure the tests are put into a sealed container and packaged for the lab."


Riverstone Health tested people without COVID-19 symptoms.

"This is called surveillance testing and it's part of Gov. Steve Bullock's plan to reopen Montana. This is our opportunity to make connection with individuals that do not have symptoms and know what is happening in our community, if they're spread through the community with asymptomatic individuals."

Shawn Hinz

Some said it took about an hour to an hour and 45 minutes to get through the line and once they got to the front, the testing went fairly well.

"It went just fine," said Mary Cruzan. "Made my eyes water a little bit. but other than that, it was a piece of cake."

Mary Cruzan

"Fine," said Ted Segota. "It was just fine. Not painful at all. Very easy, I'm an ex service man so I've had pokes all over."

Ted Segota

"Made my eyes water and it was tickling," said Scott Capser.

Scott Capser

In a news release, Riverstone Health encouraged testing for people who have been at public rallies, large gatherings or events, traveled out of the county or state, or who have been around others when physical distancing was a challenge.

Those who came out to the Metra all had their reasons for getting tested.

"I was exposed, kind of, to an elderly gentleman from Custer County," Cruzan said. "And I want to be able to assure him that I did not have any."

"I just turned 85," Segota said.

"We've had visitors out of town and I've been out of state and work required it before i could go back," Capser said.

"We are still asking the community to be very diligent with hand washing practices, social distancing of staying six fee apart and making sure that you wear your mask," Hinz said. "We're hoping to find none, that nobody tests positive. But at this point, if somebody does test positive, we'll be following up with that individual,"

RiverStone used about 500 of 2,000 tests and will offer another testing day at a yet to be determined date.