In an effort to increase the COVID-19 testing numbers in Sierra County, Sierra Vista Hospital is offering drive-thru testing each Saturday in January, 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. The testing is being done at the hospital’s main entrance off Silver Street. No appointment is needed.
The testing initiative is part of an effort to help drive our county-wide COVID positivity percentages down so that Sierra County can move from level red, to yellow and then to green, thus allowing businesses and schools to open more fully.
There were 53 people tested during the hospital’s first Saturday special drive-thru testing event on January 9. Hospital staff said they could easily handle at least three times that number. The process takes about 10 minutes, and you can stay in your car for the entire time.
On Wednesday, January 13 board members of the T-or-C/Sierra County Chamber of Commerce lined up in their cars to get tested. They and other business leaders in Sierra County are spearheading an effort to get more people to take part in this program. It’s only through getting our testing numbers up and our positivity rate down that we can get Sierra County fully opened back up for business. The Chamber is encouraging business owners and their employees to take advantage of the free Saturday testing at Sierra Vista Hospital as a means to open the community back up.
It is vital to our community that as many people as possible get tested. If you have already been tested in the past, you can do so again. The New Mexico public health restrictions now in place are in effect on a county by county basis. Currently in Sierra County we are at red level. What’s at stake is our restaurants, shops, salons and other businesses being able to more fully open and push our economy back up to speed. This can also help in the effort to get our schools to be able to fully open for in-school learning as well.
Those wanting to get tested Monday through Friday can call to make an appointment, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. The number to call is 575-740-2215. Sierra Vista will bill your insurance for these tests, with no co-pay or out of pocket expense to you. If you are uninsured, the HRSA program, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be billed. There is no cost to you for getting tested.
Ten minutes of time out of your day is a tiny sacrifice to help our community, our friends, neighbors and all of us start getting things back to normal. And don’t worry, it’s free and it’s easy and unlike when testing first started in the spring, a much shorter, far more comfortable swabs are being used. Be a part of opening up our community.