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Riverstone brings free COVID-19 testing to MetraPark

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Posted at 6:16 PM, Jul 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-12 17:40:37-04

The increase in COVID-19 cases brought more people out for Riverstone Health's second round of free testing at the Metra on Saturday morning.

This time, 838 came out for the testing, which was for both those with and without symptoms.

"It really tells us how widespread infection is," Riverstone President & C.E.O. John Felton said about the tests. "Not everyone that has a detectable infection is symptomatic, which is why we want to test people who have symptoms, people who don't. But it does give us a good sense kind of what's going on out in the community."

The first person arrived at 4:45 a.m. and 150 cars were lined up by 8 a.m.

Fifty-four representatives from Riverstone Health, three from Legacy Health and 20 from the National Guard started testing at 9.

They ran 14 swabbing stations compared to three last time, which made for a smoother process.

"A little more ticklish than what I thought it would be," said Dick Aggers, who was tested. "But it went real good. The lines weren't bad at all. The guardsmen really helped a out a lot, moved the traffic so it made it a lot easier."

"This turnout is incredible," said Lt. Andras Varhelyi, part of the Montana Army National Guard Regional Response Task Force. "It's a huge turnout. We're not even used to this kind of turnout. Probably have about at least 300 to 400 cars in line right now. It's always a great thing to help out the community, and provide the logistics for and traffic control and all the other things we do. It's very satisfying to serve our own communities on orders and be helpful."

"It's probably gotten more people out," Felton said about the the increase in postive COVID tests. "In the last week, we've had 204 new cases in Yellowstone County. Clearly, it's getting a lot of people's attention."

The Montana National Guard will take the tests to the state public health lab in Helena tomorrow.

The first round of testing in June resulted in three positives out of 463 swabs.