BULLHEAD CITY — For some, it will provide peace of mind. For others, it will confirm a suspicion. And for others, it will provide an answer that will be followed by more questions.
COVID-19 testing won’t magically bring an end to the disease nor end the pandemic, but it will let people know where they stand — at a particular moment, anyway — as the Tri-state moves forward.
North Country HealthCare, a Flagstaff-based community health agency, partnered with the City of Bullhead City to conduct 200 nasal swab tests over two days in the second testing initiative in the city since the beginning of the pandemic earlier this year.
About 490 people were tested in Bullhead City at a Sonora Quest testing blitz held in similar fashion at the Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse. That initiative, which reportedly returned only two positive tests, came when Mohave County’s total of positive COVID-19 cases was under 200 and Bullhead City’s was at only 18. Now, the county health department has tracked more than 2,600 cases, including 1,213 in the Bullhead City service area.
Participants Friday and Saturday — there were 100 each day — had to pre-register to take part. That helped streamline the process.
“It makes the system move quickly,” said Robin Gallaty, Western Regional manager for North Country HealthCare, who oversees the Kingman and Bullhead City centers.
Vehicles went through three stations at the testing site: check-in, where they received paperwork (pre-registration allowed most of that to be completed ahead of time) and answered a few general questions; screening, where medical professionals asked participants
about any possible COVID-19 symptoms, took temperatures and did other health assessments; and, finally, the testing area, where a nasal swab was performed, sealed and marked. Results should be returned in three to four days.
“This is the first big event for North Country,” Gallaty said. “We wanted to be conservative in the number of people we could serve; we didn’t want people to have to sit around and wait.”
There was little waiting. In fact, Gallaty noted, “We’re way ahead of schedule.”
They had processed about half of Saturday’s 100 participants in well under an hour.
Gallaty said North Country had sufficient manpower for the event — 17 staff members participated — to handle slightly more patients in the future.
“We’re looking to put another one on — at a date to be determined,” she said. “We will continue to work with the mayor and city manager.”
In addition to performing the tests, North Country stuff also distributed information for anyone needing it.
“We have printed copies of the latest (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines,” Gallaty said. “We’re giving them out to anyone who wants or needs them.”
She said clinic staff refers to those guidelines — the latest version of them, anyway — when advising people who think they may have been exposed. Gallaty admitted it has been a challenge since the guidelines have changed several times over the last six months.
“Since February, our lives have been in a state of flux,” she said.