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In an effort to slow the COVID-19 pandemic, Columbia County Health will offer public testing for the virus.

COVID-19 Testing

The drive-thru testing events will be held at St. Helens High School, 2375 Gable Road, on Wednesdays in December.

Beginning in December, there will be four-hour drive-thru testing events held at St. Helens High School, 2375 Gable Road, on Wednesdays, according to Columbia County Public Health Director Michael Paul.

The Chief reported earlier, that the county will begin offering the free, weekly testing events and anyone can be tested, regardless of whether they are symptomatic, Paul said. A pre-registration link will soon be available on the county public health website. Visit for information.

Who should be tested

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) recommends that all people with new symptoms constant with COVID-19, regardless of the severity, get tested. The virus doesn’t always present the same way but the symptoms to watch for include: fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; new loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; and diarrhea.

Symptoms may appear between two days to two weeks after exposure to the virus, which is why it is important to self-isolate after coming in contact with a known case, according to the guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Most tests administered are diagnostic PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests. These are often self-swabbed tests targeting the nasal passage and test for active coronavirus infection. Wait time for results can vary.

If you test positive

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, someone from the health department may call you to check on your health, discuss who you have been around, and ask where you spent time while you may have been able to spread COVID-19 to others.

Your name will not be shared with those you came in contact with. The health department staff will not ask you for:

  • Money
  • Social Security number
  • Bank account information
  • Salary information
  • Credit card numbers

You will also be asked to continue to stay at home and self-isolate, away from others.

  • Self-isolation means staying at home in a specific room away from other people and pets, and using a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Self-isolation helps slow the spread of COVID-19 and can help protect the health of your family, friends, neighbors, and others you may come in contact.
  • If you need support or assistance while in self-isolation, your health department or community organizations may be able to provide assistance.

Watch for or monitor your symptoms of COVID-19. If your symptoms worsen or become severe, you should seek medical care.

Follow the daily pandemic cases here online with in-depth reports in the Friday print editions of The Chief.


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