U.S. Surgeon General Helps Announce Three New COVID Testing Sites in Greater Birmingham

Chris Osborne of Jeff Co. Department of Health takes a selfie with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said. 8-21-2020 (Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

America’s top doctor was at the Riverchase Galleria today to repeat a common theme, that reducing cases of COVID-19 is a responsibility shared by everyone.

“The way we do it faithfully is by lowering transmission and we lower transmission with the three W’s: Wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said. “But we also do it by knowing who’s positive so we can isolate and contact trace. And we do that when you sign up to come get tested.”

Residents of central Alabama have a new tool in their effort to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus with the opening of surge testing sites that are equipped to test 1,500 people per day through Sept. 5. Those sites are the Sears parking lot at the Galleria in Hoover and Cathedral of the Cross in Center Point.

Additionally, a third surge testing site will be at the Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service Training and Logistics Center in Tuscaloosa.

Appearing with State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris and Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson, among others, Adams praised Gov. Kay Ivey for her courage in ordering a statewide face mask mandate. That move, “in the opinion of the (Coronavirus) Task Force, is very much a part of seeing Alabama turn around its numbers and move in the right direction.”

Those numbers still have Alabama in the red zone for cases of and positive tests for COVID-19. The latter designation indicates that more than 10% of tests administered come back positive.

“But I want you to know that there is good news,” Adams said. Alabama falls in the green zone on other measures, including for administering tests, with more than 62,000 tests last week. The positivity rates also are coming down, as are hospitalizations, he said.

Adams urged Alabama residents to “reject the false dichotomy out there,” not letting politics seep into how they view public health.

“I know you want to see Auburn and Alabama play (football) this fall,” he said. “They’ve been able to do it because of public health measures. They don’t have a vaccine. There are no miracle therapeutics. It’s good, old-fashion public health and people working together.”

The new testing sites in Jefferson County are open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Hoover location opened today at 11 a.m.; the Center Point location launches Monday.

The sites will offer self-administered tests that patients can use on themselves. If a child requires assistance, this must be conducted by a parent or legal guardian. Both Jefferson County sites are child friendly.

Anyone can be tested regardless of symptoms. Persons do not have to be Jefferson County residents to obtain a COVID-19 test. Testing at all surge sites is free regardless of one’s insurance status. No proof of insurance will be needed to be tested and no photo ID is required.

One can get an appointment for a test and print a voucher at Do I Need a COVID-19 Test?  To expedite testing, persons must print the voucher, even if one has digital confirmation on a phone.

If one is unable to print the voucher, staffers will print vouchers on-site, but that step will produce delays in service. Results of tests are expected within three to five days.