Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Offered For Select First Responders In Health District


WAYNE – Members of the media were invited to a Northeast Nebraska Public Health event Wednesday morning where first responders within the health district were tested for COVID-19.

The health district worked with the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory and the Nebraska National Guard to offer the testing to those in Cedar, Dixon, Thurston and Wayne county where they didn’t have to exit their vehicle.

The health department had permission to test 68 people, which was based on lab capacity, and were finalizing their list Wednesday morning.

Each first responder had to remain in their car the whole time driving through the Wayne County Roads Building. After showing their ID, they proceeded through each station, according to health director Julie Rother.

“So, first they’ll do a screening then they’ll do a registration,” said Rother. “Then they’ll actually do the testing, the swab specimen, then they’ll move on and exit the building.”

The first day of response for the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department was March 9 which was the first positive case that was in Knox County. NNPDH was involved because of the close proximity to the community.

The health department reached across their four counties in the health district to identify a variety of people who were both symptomatic and asymptomatic to be tested. Officials with the NNPHD want to understand a little bit more about its presence in the community.

“This testing day is going to help us get more information about the virus in how it is here in the health district,” Rother added. “How it’s moving in rural areas and give us a better understanding of that for our state.”

COVID-19 testing numbers of residents in the health district are posted daily on the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department Facebook page. The Nebraska Public Health lab will see results in about 48 hours as Wednesday’s results will be included in the daily update once on the NNPHD page.

Rother would like to thank all of their partners across the four counties.

“We’ve added to our staff, nurses that want to help, we’ve got volunteers that are helping to unpack the personal protective equipment that we get,” Rother mentioned. “The personal protective equipment has been rolling in kind of slowly, very small amounts, but that’s ramping up now.”

Through Tuesday evening there were 69 reported tests with the one positive, 63 negative and five pending.