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Altavista COVID-19 testing location offers free masks, gift cards

Altavista COVID-19 testing location offers free masks, gift cards

COVID-19 Vaccinations file photo

In this January file photo, a registered nurse prepares a COVID-19 vaccination in Lynchburg.

In an effort to help continue monitoring active COVID-19 cases, the Virginia Department of Health has partnered with Dollar General stores — including the location in Altavista — to offer incentives alongside free rapid testing.

From Sunday through Wednesday between 12 and 8 p.m., free rapid antigen COVID-19 tests will be administered in the Altavista Dollar General at 44 Marysville Road, according to a news release from VDH.

Along with stores in Norfolk and Williamsburg, it's part of a pilot program that will offer either a pair of cloth face masks or a $10 Visa gift card to those who get tested.

The testing is meant for asymptomatic people, according to the release — anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms is asked to seek care or testing at a health facility.

COVID-19 testing rates have plummeted alongside vaccination rates over the past few months. An average of around 300 people have been getting tested recently in the Central Virginia Health District, made up of Lynchburg and surrounding counties.

That's about on par with the number of CVHD residents getting tested last summer. The percent of tests coming back positive has hovered around 4% since the beginning of May — which is a slightly higher rate than what the district was seeing as this time last year. Virginia is seeing positive test rates at around 3%.

— Rachel Mahoney

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