Over 2,000 people got tested for Covid-19 last week at a Portage County popup site

Members of the Ohio National and Ohio Air Guard perform Covid-19 tests at a popup testing center at NEOMED in Rootstown on Saturday. Carter Eugene Adams/The Portager


Over 2,000 people got tested for Covid-19 last week at a Portage County popup site

Over three days last week, residents of Portage and surrounding counties drove through an arrangement of orange traffic cones and volunteer stations to receive Covid-19 tests administered by medics and lab technicians from the Air and National Guard.

Over 2,000 people received a free test provided through a joint effort from the Portage County Health District.

The testing was part of a collaboration between the Health District, the Portage County Emergency Management Agency, University Hospitals Portage Medical Center, the Ohio National and Ohio Air Guard, Northeast Ohio Medical University and the City of Kent.

“It was a really good collaboration,” said Joseph Diorio, Portage County health commissioner. “We’re grateful for our partners.”

Infection rates from Tuesday’s test results offer some insight into infection rates in Portage and surrounding counties among those who were tested.

Of the 650 people tested Tuesday, 625 results came back. Thirty-five of those tests were positive for the virus. That number matches statewide trends of 5 percent of tests coming back positive. Eighteen of the 35 results were from out-of-county residents, according to the Health District.

Anyone could get tested, whether the person showed symptoms of Covid-19 or not.

Diorio says that while these results are promising, a negative test result is not a free pass.

“If you’re negative, it doesn’t mean you can just go out and do whatever,” Diorio said. “It means that you tested negative for it today.”

He encouraged residents to continue observing health safety guidelines, including social distancing and wearing a mask in public.

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Carter Eugene Adams is a freelance documentary photographer and multimedia journalist based in Ravenna, Ohio. He is a former multimedia contributor for The Portager.