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After a month of slow COVID-19 testing days, there have been days where the local drive-through testing site serve over 100. To help speed the process and serve more people, the health department is asking that people schedule their testing times and then pre-register before showing up.

Testing for COVID-19 at the Clinton County Health Department’s drive-through site at the Emergency Management Agency Office (at the south end of the Clinton County Fairgrounds) has increased tenfold over the last two weeks according to health department administrator Rodney Wann.

Since May, the local health department has had a COVID-19 testing site available from noon to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Once able to test up to 300 individuals per day with the help of an additional testing crew provided by the state, since May the local health department has had the resources to test up to just over 100 people in a given day, and they are starting to hit that capacity.

“We had an additional testing crew here and were able to handle, at the time, up to 300 a day, but once the vaccine came along and everyone thought everyone was going to get it, we started seeing testing slowing down,” Wann said. “For four weeks or more, we were only seeing five to 10 a day. We saw that for a month or so in the middle of the summer.

“We have seen a tenfold increase in testing in the last week or two,” Wann added. “Some days we have had over 100. One hundred to 120 a day is probably the capacity we can do with the support we have. So, appointments are kind of critical right now. Registrations are important so that you don’t have to sit and wait too long.”

Those who need a test are encouraged to schedule an appointment and pre-register online. Doing so speeds up the process, and sometimes the long line, at the drive-through testing site. That process can be done ahead of time at www.coronavirus.in.gov instead of at the testing site. Having more people schedule appointments and pre-register will increase the number of tests that the local site can handle in a day.

“Put in your information (pre-register) so that once you pull in, we can see that you have complete it,” Wann said. “It is answering questions so that all we have to do is check you in – that still takes two or three minutes – and then we print a label on the test kit and have to obtain information on how to get ahold of you so that information can be sent to you. We don’t know your results. We just test and send them to the labs.

“What we are trying to do is encourage folks to register and get in the system so then we can simply check them in when they pull up,” he continued. “It takes additional time to register. That information needs to be gathered. When they do it on site, it takes more time. For some reason, that message is getting lost in this current crisis. Our goal is to still serve everyone. It frustrates us. We would like to serve everyone, but we need a little help.”