JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A COVID-19 drive-thru testing site will open Friday at the Parker Road Walmart in Jonesboro.
According to a media release from Walmart, the site at 1911 West Parker Road will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays each week from 7 to 9 a.m., weather permitting.
Officials said appointments must be made here.
“The site is supported by Walmart, eTrueNorth and state and local officials to test anyone who meets CDC and state and local guidelines on who should be tested, including first responders, health care providers and others with symptoms of COVID-19 and those in high risk groups without symptoms. Those interested in being tested need to visit www.DoINeedaCOVID19test.com to see if eligible for testing and to make an appointment,” the release stated.
Company officials also said the tests will provide a key opportunity for people to get a test in a key time.
“Walmart is part of the community, and we are proud to help support the expansion of COVID-19 testing in Jonesboro during this unprecedented time,” said Michael Lindsay, Walmart public affairs director for Arkansas. “We are grateful to our associates who keep our stores running, our pharmacists who support these testing sites, and to eTrueNorth and local officials as we work together to open the site and help our community.”
Greg Shrout made the five-minute drive from his home to get the test calling the experience “quick and painless.”
“That’s definitely the safest I’ve seen it done. From any of the sites, anything I seen on TV, I’ve never seen it self-administered like that, to me that’s more assuring," Shrout said.
He was also quite pleased with the process of the test.
“Everything we’ve seen so far this morning, it’s going off without a hitch," Shrout said.
According to Mark Guffey, the Market Health and Wellness Director for the Walmart on Parker Road, they were able to do a trial run the day before with law enforcement and first-responders.
“We kinda learned this works, this doesn’t work. This is a way we can be more efficient. This is a way we can help people be prepared a little bit more," Guffey said.
With the requirement of having people sign up before they come, they are able to keep the line down to 20 cars per hour.
Each car going by 3 volunteers, one being a pharmacist to complete their test.
“You twist it around the nose for 15 seconds, each nare. You put it into a little vial, put the cap on it and we send it off to the lab and you get results in three to five days," Guffey said.
With the accessibility and the fact that it’s free; they aren’t expecting lines to slow down anytime soon.
“Probably the first few days, it will be that way. It is completely free. It’s something we are volunteering, donating to the community. Something we are very proud to serve the community." Guffey said.
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin said Thursday that having the drive-thru location will help in several ways.
“This is an important addition to our testing capabilities. We have not had accurate numbers, and even our hospital leaders have been wanting more testing,” Perrin said. “My concern is getting our city to some semblance of normalcy, and that requires accurate information. I think more testing will provide everyone in Jonesboro more confidence about what they should and should not do as they continue to take precautions to reduce their risks.”
Perrin said testing will also be done at four all ARcare locations in Craighead County, with patients calling 870-347-3461 to set up an appointment.
Perrin also said local hospitals and doctors are continuing to do COVID-19 tests.
St. Bernards Healthcare is doing free online screening here, while NEA Baptist is scheduling tests for established patients in drive-thru testing.
Anyone without a primary care provider can also be seen at the NEA Baptist Windover COVID Clinic by calling 870-936-7140, while NEA Baptist is also seeing patients through telehealth. Officials said drive thru testing is also available through order from a provider.
Also, officials said starting Monday, May 18, anyone who has been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has shown symptoms can schedule an appointment at the Arkansas Department of Health office on East Washington Avenue in Jonesboro.
You can call 870-933-4585 to schedule an appointment.
According to the media release, officials said the following are rules for the Walmart drive-thru site:
- Beginning Friday, the site is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays weekly.
- 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., weather permitting. Appointments must be made through eTrueNorth’s online portal at www.DoINeedaCOVID19test.com, which will screen individuals to ensure they meet CDC eligibility for testing.
- For questions regarding testing, call 800-635-8611.
- Those being tested will need to wear as mask and stay in their cars for verification of eligibility criteria, ID check and self-administered test. For the safety of all those on-site, the test site is not available to those who walk up.
- The site will use a self-administered nasal swab test that will allow those being tested to swab their own nose onsite while in their vehicles, observed by a trained medical volunteer to ensure the sample is taken correctly, and then dropped in the sealed sample into a container on their way out of the drive-through site.
- eTrueNorth will handle processing test samples and communicating results to those tested and applicable Departments of Health.
- The site will be staffed by Walmart healthcare professionals
- Please note, testing is not available inside Walmart stores.
- While individuals who are tested are awaiting results, please follow CDC guidelines and take steps to help prevent the virus from spreading to people in your home and community.
Region 8 News will have more details as they become available.