CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The third Chesapeake community-based COVID-19 testing for at-risk residents took place at the Mount Church Chesapeake Thursday. 

The COVID-19 test-giver took the swab and swirled it around each nostril of Olanda Gibson’s nose. He didn’t seem to mind the awkward feeling.

“I came out here today because there’s a serious situation, and I want to be part of the solution, and not part of the problem. I want this thing to go away.  I came to make sure I do not have COVID-19, and the only way you can really know is to be tested,” he said. 

The tester then told him: “OK. If it is positive, sir, we will give you a call. If it is negative, you get a letter in the mail.” 

Chesapeake’s Heath Department Director Dr. Nancy Welch said an increase in testing could be bumping up the numbers. On Thursday, 382 residents were tested.

“We are seeing a trend-line sliding slightly. Increasing.  It’s not real sharp.  It is just a slight increase which could reflect, quite honestly, we’re doing more testing which is exactly what we want to do.” 

According to the Virginia Health Department numbers Thursday morning for the entire state, positive cases are at 56,238. That is up 463 over Wednesday. The total hospitalized is 5,744, which is up 52 over Wednesday. The number of deaths rose by three. 

Chesapeake resident Howard Ervin calls getting the test a civic responsibility.

“It is important because we want to contain the virus, and to make sure I am not asymptomatic, I don’t want to give it to you, and that is why I am wearing a mask. To protect you and to protect me,” he said.

The Urban League of Hampton Roads Chief Operating Officer Mary Bibbs said the event helps reach out to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford testing.

Bibbs also pointed to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, which was on-hand giving out food to those at-risk members of the community who took the test.  Bibbs opened one of the food boxes.

“Look in here … Meals ready to eat chicken pasta. You have beans, and chicken noodles,” she listed off.  

Chesapeake Regional Healthcare has been a valuable partner in three Community COVID-19 testing events.

“We don’t have a lot of positive cases at our church.  We have been really blessed,” said The Mount Church Chesapeake Bishop Kim Brown, the host of the event. “We are called to serve.  We are helping people to remember to get tested and to wear masks.” 

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