WARREN GOVT

County and town officials met at the Warren County Government Center on Thursday to discuss COVID-19. Shown from left are Supervisors Chairman Walt Mabe, Deputy County Administrator Bob Childless, Fire Chief Richard Mabie, County Administrator Doug Stanley, Deputy Emergency Manager Rick Farrall and Interim Town Manager Matt Tederick.

FRONT ROYAL – A COVID-19 testing site was set up Thursday in a yellow tent outside Valley Health’s outpatient facility at 120 N. Commerce Ave. for citizens who have a doctor’s order to be tested.

Warren County Deputy Emergency Manager Rick Farrall explained over the phone that the location is a testing site only and does not provide any treatments. The site tests for just COVID-19, not other illnesses such as strep throat and the flu. He added that people “must have a doctor’s order” to be tested.

To receive that doctor’s order, he said people should call a doctor instead of visiting the doctor’s office.

“If you’re sick, please stay home, call your doctor, don’t go in,” Farrall said.

If someone meets the parameters to be tested, he said they will not have to exit their cars.

“They’ll come out, they’ll get some information from you, they’ll swab you and you go home,” he said.

Results are available within 48 to 72 hours.

Farrall said he does not know how many test kits are available in town, but there is not “a huge abundance because the supply system just doesn’t have them.”

“That’s why Valley Health is still following the very rigid Virginia Department of Health testing guidelines,” he said.

Farrall did not know if or how many people were tested at the site, but there has been “an uptick” in “patients under investigation.”

As of Thursday evening, there were no reported COVID-19 cases in Warren County, with the nearest being in Loudoun County.

“I think we are seeing an increase in the number of patients that meet the criteria but thank goodness they’re not coming back positive,” Farrall said.

Farrall encouraged people to stay at home if they are sick, wash their hands, clean often-used surfaces such as doorknobs, and maintain social distancing.

“I think if we can do that as a community, we’re just gonna be that much better off,” he said.

Regarding grocery store’s low food supplies, Farrall encouraged people to “get what you need” and “don’t overdo it.”

“For how many years have you gone to Martin’s and people have had plenty of food?” he asked. “We’ve never run out of food…so now, everybody just needs to not go crazy and just get what you need…If you do that, I think everybody will have the chance to get what they need.”

When visiting grocery stores, he said to wipe the cart’s handle if sanitary wipes are available and encouraged people to bring their bags.

Also on Thursday, top county and town officials met in the Warren County Government Center along with Farrall to conduct phone conferences with department heads and employees.

As of now, he said the county and town are not looking to prematurely close any services. If there are any positive cases in the county, he said that would be re-examined. While the town hall and government center remain open for walk-ins, both governments have encouraged citizens to conduct any needed business over the internet or use the drive-through window if possible.

Farrall said the meeting was “pretty positive” and not consumed with “doom and gloom,” adding that he did not hear a lot of panic and that officials are doing everything to be as prepared as possible.

Farrall noted that general questions regarding the virus should be directed to the state health department’s public information line at 1-877-275-8343.

– Contact Josh Gully at jgully@nvdaily.com