Jacksonville COVID-19 testing site relocates after ‘eviction’

Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A Jacksonville drive-thru COVID-19 testing site moved to a new location but operators don’t expect their lines to get any shorter.

StarMed is now operating the site at the former Kmart on Piney Green Road after it was forced off Jacksonville Mall’s property. The COVID testing site was originally hosting its drive-thru site at the local mall’s parking lot. Healthcare workers said the mall evicted them Monday morning.

9OYS reached out to Jacksonville Mall officials, who say no one from the mall asked StarMed to leave.

A statement from mall officials said, “The Onslow County agreement with Jacksonville Mall expired on 12/31/20. The Mall is working with the County on an extension of the agreement with hopes to be able to provide the convenient drive-thru COVID testing location again soon.”

Drivers who waited for their chance to be swabbed on Monday morning, were relocated to the new COVID site. Healthcare workers were experiencing an all-time high in testing. In March, healthcare workers had 15 to 20 patients per day. Now, they see close to 200 daily.

The testing site started out with two workers and has increased to 10 to keep up with demand. Doctors said people in Onslow County are not taking the virus seriously, leading to the current COVID surge.

“About the, let’s say 170 people, that we see a day, we do about 90 antigen tests a day, and at least
half of our patients are coming with COVID symptoms,” said Arin Priamzadian, medical officer at StarMed Healthcare.

People who want testing have to be in line by 2 p.m. daily. One healthcare worker said because of the long lines, they sometimes don’t get done until about 7 p.m.

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