AURORA — Hamilton County residents were able to get tested for COVID-19 by TestNebraska on Wednesday in Aurora.

Teresa Anderson, health director for the Central District Health Department, said testing was offered from 2-4 p.m. at East Park Villa, 1704 L St. She said this was the second time testing was offered in Aurora. The first was last week.

TestNebraska in Aurora was made possible by a contract with Memorial Community Health.

“We are pleased that we are able to offer testing at in Grand Island and in Aurora because we think that will increase the number of people who actually get tested,” she said. “What we are finding is the more slots we offer, the more slots we need to offer. In central Nebraska, it is not always easy to get a test, so we are doing our best to open up slots as quickly as we can.”

When asked how many people got tested, Andrew Hills, emergency response coordinator for CDHD, said the organization had scheduled 70 tests Wednesday.

Anderson said CDHD’s overall COVID-19 positivity rate is 12%. The rate is 15% in Hall County, 6% in Hamilton County and 10% in Merrick County. She said the results are from 250 COVID-19 tests.

The results for Wednesday’s tests will not be available until at least Saturday, Anderson said.

Last week, Anderson said the overall positivity rate for the Central District was 7%, She said it was exceptionally higher in Hamilton County (17%).

“Positivity rate is a hard thing to quantify because no matter what you think, you are going to be proven wrong,” Hills said. “We could take a guess and say, ‘Last week’s positivity rate might be ‘X’ percent and be the same this week. If it has gone down from one week to the next, does that show a trend? Or, on that occasion, did we happen to test a lot of infected people?’ It is very difficult to make a week-by-week decision. You have got to plot this all out and look at it.”

On Wednesday, Hills said, volunteers from Memorial Community Health helped conduct the nasal swabs.

Justise Rhoden of Aurora got tested Wednesday.

“I had felt a little funny this week. I kept my distance from people and thought since we have the testing now available here in Aurora, I would take advantage of it,” she said. “The test went really well. We all know the test is not the most comfortable, but most things in life are not comfortable, so we just have to do what we can.”

Rhoden said she thought having TestNebraska in Aurora was “a great opportunity” to keep COVID-19 testing local. She applauded Memorial Community Health’s site selection.

“It is in a really great location, so people can find it,” Rhoden said. “But it is also far enough off that it is not disrupting the community.”

Tina Hunt, marketing director for Memorial Community Health, agreed with Rhoden and said the TestNebraska site ran “very smoothly” Wednesday.

“We are very happy to have East Park Villa and their residents and administration agreed to use this as (location) a test area,” she said. “It is important there are more options available for individuals who are ill. We see patients at our clinic and are able to do testing there, as well. So the two scenarios work well together.”

TestNebraska is scheduled to be at East Park Villa in Aurora from 2-4 p.m. every Wednesday through Aug. 26. Those interested in getting tested through TestNebraska must complete the assessment at testnebraska.com to determine whether they qualify.

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