GALION — Avita Health System has announced that it is expanding PCR COVID-19 rapid testing at Ontario and Galion hospitals with the help of the Ohio National Guard.
The expanded days and hours will start on Friday, Jan. 14 and extend through Jan. 28. Ontario Hospital will provide testing appointments Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Galion Hospital will offer testing appointments Monday though Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
“We extended the hours at our testing site in Ontario and added more days in Galion to accommodate the urgent need for COVID testing,” explained Kim Winkle, Vice President of Operations, Avita Health System. “We are grateful for support from the Ohio National Guard and the increased access to COVID testing that we’ll be able to provide the community for the next two weeks as we all battle this recent wave of illness and exposures.”
In addition to the COVID-19 testing sites at Ontario and Galion Hospitals, Avita will continue to offer testing at Bucyrus Hospital on Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. An appointment is required at Avita’s testing sites and can be made by calling 419-468-0800. Insurance will be billed for patients who meet billing criteria and those with a known exposure. Testing for travel and self-pay is $100 out of pocket. Test results will be provided through MyChart, a free and secure online patient portal.
“We are grateful that National Guard members are continuing to fill critical roles in our state’s response to this pandemic, especially as the strain on our health care providers continues,” said Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. “As cases increase across the state, the best thing Ohioans can do is to stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine.”
According to a press release issued by the governor’s office, the National Guard is now supporting 12 testing locations across the state as part of ongoing efforts to ease some of the burden on the state’s hardest-hit hospitals as Ohio is experiencing the highest number of COVID-19 driven inpatient hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and patients on ventilators seen throughout the pandemic.
“Our men and women are supporting about a dozen testing sites throughout Ohio, helping to provide additional opportunities for our fellow Ohioans to be tested for COVID-19. We have been fulfilling COVID-19 missions for more than 20 months, and we are committed to supporting our state during this time of need,” said Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio adjutant general.
The total deployment of National Guard members working with Ohio’s healthcare systems is now at 2,300 members. This includes approximately 200 Guard members offering medical support, and approximately 2,100 offering general support, including testing, food services, in-hospital patient transportation, administrative tasks, and more.
The testing locations are helping to divert testing traffic from hospital emergency rooms. For example, since the launch of the Walker Testing Center in Cleveland, more than 22,000 people have been tested, averaging more than 1,100 people daily.
“Ohio hospitals appreciate the continued support and service of the Ohio National Guard during this critical time of healthcare need related to COVID-19. The testing locations organized by the Guard and hospitals have been extremely important to provide this dedicated service to give better access to testing while alleviating demand of hospitals’ emergency departments. We will continue to assess daily the needs for testing and the best utilization of Guard support during this surge,” according to a statement from the Ohio Hospital Association.
The Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Hospital Association are evaluating the situation in Ohio’s hospitals daily to assess and maximize staffing to ensure Guard members are assisting in locations with the most critical needs. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients and testing needs change every day, and staffing adjustments are being made accordingly.
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, maintaining up-to-date vaccination remains the best tool against COVID-19 hospitalization and death. As Ohio is experiencing record-setting hospitalizations amid the spread of the Delta and Omicron variants, it’s critical that Ohioans follow prevention strategies including getting vaccinated, getting a booster shot if eligible, wearing face masks, washing hands frequently, getting tested, and staying home if sick, even if symptoms are mild.
COVID-19 vaccines are widely available throughout the state at doctor’s offices, community vaccine clinics, hospitals, community health centers, pharmacies, and more.
Statewide, many providers offer walk-in appointments, or Ohioans can schedule a vaccination appointment at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. Ohioans who want to learn more about COVID-19 testing, and the safety, efficacy, and side effects of COVID-19 vaccines should talk to their doctor, nurse, or pharmacist, or visit coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine.