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Jeffco residents urged to get free COVID-19 tests through this week

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By Lauren Jackson

ABC 33/40

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Officials with the Jefferson County Department of Health want to be testing 1,500 people each day at the two new surge testing sites, but are disappointed with the turnout so far.

“From the first day to now, there has been a drop off every day,” Jefferson County’s Deputy Health Officer, Dr. David Hicks said. “It is disappointing that we don’t have more people from the community taking advantage of this.”

You must register to be tested, which you can do by clicking here

Hicks said each location Riverchase Galleria and Cathedral of the Cross – is testing between 200 and 300 people each day. Both sites have tested almost 3,000 people in the first six days, a number officials hoped to reach daily.

The Galleria location is in the Sears Parking Lot 2500 Galleria Circle, Hoover, AL and Cathedral of the Cross site is 1480 Center Point Parkway, Center Point, AL.

“We are using taxpayers dollars to make sure that this is done in a very efficient and smooth manor,” Dr. Hicks said. “We want to use those resources wisely, so that’s really why we need more and more people to go out.”

The new site is funded by the federal government, after deeming the area a COVID 19 hot-spot. Hicks said the two sites are still costing Jefferson County more than $150,000 to run.

“We want to maximize the federal resources and federal dollars so that we don’t have to use so much of the local taxpayers resources to test,” Dr. Hicks said.

Hicks said 6 percent of the people tested at the two locations are getting positive results, which is still higher than the CDC recommended 5 percent positivity rate.

“In order to drive the numbers down, how much is spreading here in the community, we need to identify more cases and you do that by doing more testing,” Dr. Hicks said.

Both locations are set to end the free testing on September 4. It is available to anyone in Alabama, not just Jefferson County residents.

For more information visit here

The story appeared originally on www.abc3340.com.