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Health department opening 2nd COVID-19 testing site in hopes of lessening burden on emergency rooms, urgent care

While COVID cases continue to surge, hundreds of people are showing up to get tested in Lucas County. And soon, the county will have a second testing location.

MAUMEE, Ohio — We're halfway through the second week of COVID-19 testing at the Lucas County Rec Center and hundreds of people are showing up daily.

When the testing site opened last week, officials were anticipating having about 1,100 people sign up daily to get tested. But WTOL 11 is learning the past few days have brought in about half of that; averaging between 500 and 600 people. 

The health commissioner, Eric Zgodzinski, said this past Sunday was the last day they saw more than a thousand people get tested at the rec center. Which could mean people are going to other places, like the emergency room or urgent care, to get tested. 

He said the hospitals, the health department and the Ohio National Guard opened the testing site at the rec center because the demand was there. But now, the site is not bringing in the number of people they were anticipating. 

"So please, use that facility instead of going to the ER or to other entities that are just swamped right now," said Zgodzinski. "Come on out. There's room."

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Because cases continue to rise, a second testing site will soon open. Zgodzinski said it will help more people get tested in the community, as well as help break down barriers that some people were facing when it comes to getting tested at the rec center. 

"Not everybody can drive out to the rec center who is in this area," said Zgodzinski. "So, we wanted to make sure again that we try to set up another testing site so that we could reach out to individuals."

The second testing site will be at UAW Local 12, on Ashland Ave. in central Toledo.

The health commissioner said one reason why the rec center is seeing fewer people could be because of the online registration process. 

"We have a number of individuals in this community who don't have access to the internet, who don't have email, who may not know how to even use those systems and or devices."

However, Zgodzinski says, for now, the UAW testing site will operate the same way as the rec center site. 

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You'll register online and only go during your appointment time. 

But that could change.

"You know, maybe take days that you don't have to register and maybe do walk-ups," said Zgodzinski. "Can we do registration with those type of needs as well at the same time? Again, we're trying to figure it out."

He said at the end of the day, no matter how it's operated, getting tests out into the community is the number one priority for the health departments in their fight against COVID.

Lucas County is averaging about 900 new positive tests per day. 

"Last year at this time, we were worried about 400 a day, 450," said Zgodzinski. So you definitely see a significant caseload disease in our community."

UAW Local 12 is at 2300 Ashland Ave. It will be open this Friday and then again next Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. 

Pre-registration is required at UAW and no walk-ins will be permitted, at this time.

Click here to make an appointment.