Testing Through Marietta Memorial’s COVID-19 Drive-Thru Clinic is Simple

Those who wish to do so can get tested for COVID-19 with relative ease and convenience, especially if they are already part of the Marietta Memorial Health System. I was tested June 30 at Marietta Memorial’s COVID-19 Drive-Thru Assessment Clinic, which is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The testing site is located at 800 Pike Street in Marietta, in front of Walmart and behind Marietta Physicians Care Express. At the testing site, I was told I will receive results in 3-5 business days, which was the case. I got my test on a Tuesday morning and received a call back the following Monday with the news that my test was negative. I suspect the Fourth of July weekend might have slowed down my results slightly, which is understandable!

The testing process itself was simple. I showed up in my car and texted my name and date of birth to the number posted on the side of the building. I was sent an online form, which I was able to complete on my phone in under five minutes, confirming my current health insurance information. Once confirmation of receipt was sent, I was told to pull around to the tent where I could be tested. I was asked a few questions about symptoms. The health professional at my driver’s side window used a tongue depressor and a throat swab to take an oral sample, which was a relief because I had heard that the nasal tests can be uncomfortable. On the phone later in a follow-up call, I was told that the Marietta site I visited just does oral samples, which is good to know for folks who might also hope to avoid a nasal test. (FYI, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes five types of viral tests when it comes to checking for COVID-19. Four are nasal, and one is oral.)

Drive-Thru Testing Site, photo provided by Memorial Health System

This testing site is just one of many in the area, so I cannot speak to the experiences of others at different locations. I can share that I have Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance and that I was already in the Marietta Memorial Health System’s records. If these things describe your situation as well, I would hope you would have a similar, easy experience. One great thing I was told about the Marietta Memorial Health System testing site is that it is government-funded, meaning there is no out-of-pocket cost even for those without health insurance.

The CDC doesn’t say those who are asymptomatic and have not had known exposure to a person with COVID-19 should not or cannot be tested. However, I would say I would probably not have gotten tested if I were in a place currently experiencing testing shortages, such as cities in Arizona or Texas. At this time, the Mid-Ohio Valley does not appear to be in that camp. At the time of my test, only one other car was waiting, and no one appeared to be waiting when I drove by the site Wednesday, July 8. Of course, this can change at any time, so be mindful of this if you choose to be tested without exhibiting symptoms and without known contact with someone who has COVID-19. To err on the side of caution, West Virginia governor Jim Justice recommends getting tested upon returning from travel to places like Myrtle Beach, where cases are currently rising. And in any case, it is advised individuals get tested if they have reason to believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Author Meryl Williams wearing her mask

In closing, here are some reminders from Marietta Memorial: Per the health system, if you are experiencing symptoms, they are able to assess all patients presenting with fever and/or upper respiratory symptoms and test those appropriate. Symptoms of upper respiratory illness include:

  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat

If you are going to the clinic for COVID-19 symptoms, they encourage you to register prior to going to make sure their experts have your information as soon as you pull up. To do so, you can use this online form.

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