RiverStone Health expands free COVID testing in Billings

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Posted at 2:33 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 19:46:33-05

RiverStone Health has expanded its free testing site at 2173 Overland Ave. to provide up to 250 daily drive-through COVID-19 tests with no appointments.

In addition, the site also offers free, rapid tests by appointment only, which are only available to those with COVID symptoms within the first seven days of illness.

Previously, the site could only process 200 regular tests per day, which usually take three to five days for results to become available, according to RiverStone.

The site is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for drive-through testing. For rapid testing, call 247-3327 between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to schedule an appointment.

Here's the full news release from RiverStone Health:

BILLINGS, MT – The COVID-19 free community testing site, 2173 Overland Ave., is now able to provide up to 250 drive-through tests daily with no appointment required.

The community testing site operated by RiverStone Health continues to be open from 8:30 a.m. till 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday on a first-come, first-served basis. Its maximum daily testing capacity has expanded from 200 tests daily to 250. This free test is available to people age 5 and older (with parent or guardian consent) with symptoms of COVID-19 and people who are close contacts of a person who has tested positive.

In addition, on Monday, the testing site started offering free, rapid tests by appointment only.

Rapid testing is available only for those who have symptoms of COVID-19 and are within their first seven days of having symptoms.

To make an appointment for the free, Binax rapid test, call 406.247.3327 between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Walk-ins won’t be accepted. Appointments can’t be booked more than 48 hours out. If all appointments have been filled for the next 48 hours, we suggest you go through the regular drive-through testing, also at 2173 Overland Ave.

People who have scheduled an appointment for rapid antigen testing should stay home until it’s time for their test appointment, except to seek medical care.

People should expect their rapid test appointment to last an hour. Upon arrival, the person will fill out a consent form and then swab about one inch inside each nostril for a few seconds. The test itself takes 15 minutes to return results.

If the test is positive, the person will receive information on how to monitor their health and how to isolate to prevent spread of the disease.

If the test is negative, the RiverStone Health testing team will immediately retest the individual with the PCR test used for the regular drive-through testing. The PCR test must be run in a lab and takes 5-7 days for results to be reported. That second test is to confirm the negative Binax result. Rapid antigen tests have been shown to have false negatives more often than do the PCR tests that detect viral DNA.

People being tested remain in their own vehicles, regardless of whether they are getting the rapid test or the PCR test.