Coronavirus testing in Leesburg

A medical provider gives a COVID-19 test during a county-sponsored testing event in Leesburg in May 2020.

Loudoun County is expanding the number of COVID-19 testing events to weekly, beginning Tuesday, Oct. 12, according to a Tuesday press release.

The additional testing events will give residents more options for free testing as the county continues to experience a high level of community transmission of COVID-19. The drive-thru events are scheduled for Tuesdays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at various locations across the county.

“I encourage anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to COVID-19 to get evaluated and tested promptly, either privately or through one of the county’s testing events,” said Loudoun County Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend in a prepared statement.

“You should get tested if you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and a new loss of taste or smell or if you have been potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19, regardless of their vaccination status,” he said.

Goodfriend said that while waiting for COVID-19 test results, “you should stay home and away from others if you have symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of your vaccination status; or if you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and you are not fully vaccinated.”

More information about when to quarantine and when to isolate following exposure to or infection with the COVID-19 virus is posted on the CDC’s website.

Testing schedule

The weekly schedule of COVID-19 testing events begins Oct. 12. They will be held on Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

October 12: Claude Moore Park, 46150 Loudoun Park Lane in Sterling

October 19: Philip A. Bolen Memorial Park, 42405 Claudia Drive, Leesburg (Enter the park on Crosstrail Boulevard from Sycolin Road.)

October 26: Franklin Park, 17501, Franklin Park Drive, Purcellville

Nov. 2: Claude Moore Park, 46150 Loudoun Park Lane in Sterling

Nov. 9: Philip A. Bolen Memorial Park, 42405 Claudia Drive, Leesburg (Enter the park on Crosstrail Boulevard from Sycolin Road.)

Nov. 16: Franklin Park, 17501, Franklin Park Drive, Purcellville

Nov. 23: Claude Moore Park, 46150 Loudoun Park Lane in Sterling

Nov. 30: Franklin Park, 17501, Franklin Park Drive, Purcellville

The testing events are free and open to all. There are no age or residency requirements. No prescriptions or appointments are necessary. A person does not have to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 to be tested. A PCR test (nasal swab) will be administered, which tests for the novel coronavirus. No antibody or rapid tests will be offered. No COVID-19 vaccine will be available at these events.

COVID-19 vaccine

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) tweeted on Monday how successful Virginia has been in getting people vaccinated.

“GOOD NEWS: Virginia has the highest vaccination rate in the South! 81% of Virginia adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine—and that number keeps growing,” Northam said. “Together, we can end this pandemic.”

As of Wednesday evening, 62.7% of the total population in Loudoun are fully vaccinated, and 68% have had at least one dose of vaccine.

In Loudoun, 82.7% of the adult population has received at least one dose, and 76.5% are fully vaccinated.

Booster shots

Goodfriend said Pfizer was approved to offer booster shots for those at high risk. Eligible patients must have already received their initial two-dose series of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend booster doses for patients at least six months (180 days) after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Patients must be 65 years and older, a resident of long-term care facility, between 18-64 years old with underlying medical conditions, or between 18-64 years old who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional settings, such as, but not limited to, health care workers and caregivers for frail or immunocompromised people

Goodfriend expects Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to receive approval in a couple of weeks.

COVID-19 cases

Despite the vaccination rate increases, Loudoun County is averaging about a seven-day average of 60 coronavirus cases per day, according the Virginia Department of Health.

33,084 cases have been recorded in Loudoun County, along with 1,178 hospitalizations and 292 deaths as of Oct. 6. The last reported death was nearly two weeks ago on Oct. 1.

Health officials have noted that among Loudoun residents who are vaccinated, the most likely risk factor for COVID-19 infection is another infected member of their household who is unvaccinated.

Loudoun’s positivity rate dropped from 5.5% to 4.5% over the past two weeks.

Loudoun County Public Schools, the school system reported 71 active cases among students and 11 among staff members as of Wednesday.

156 students and one staff member were under quarantine as of Wednesday.

Additionally, the data shows that 45 schools have at least one staff member or student with either an active case or in quarantine. 38 schools have reported at least one student with an active case.

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