GREAT FALLS — Although the testing was originally reserved for symptomatic COVID-19 patients, Alluvion Health's drive-thru testing is now accessible to anyone.
The free testing is for those with no COVID-19 symptoms, since those individuals could spread the disease unknowingly.
Alluvion Health marketing director Erin Merchant said they've had just under 2,000 people tested for COVID-19, with an average of 60-70 people being tested daily.
“We are hoping to increase those numbers...as part of our effort to increase testing in Cascade County. We are partnering with some businesses and organizations to do onsite testing,” Merchant said.
Merchant said Alluvion Health hopes to increase the number of people getting tested in order to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as travel reopens across the country.
“We do still feel that there is a need for testing just so we can monitor and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 throughout our community and the state of Montana,” Merchant said.
Merchant recommends people receive tests once a week to make sure they continue to stay free of COVID-19.
Drive-thru testing will be available for the foreseeable future in the parking lot of the former Westgate Mall, located at 3rd Street NW. Hours of operation are Monday - Friday 10 a.m. through 6 p.m., and weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Montana health officials reported three new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, including one new case in Yellowstone County, according to the Montana Response COVID-19 tracking map.
Gallatin County added two new cases, raising the number of active cases in that county to 20. Yellowstone County now has seven active cases. Big Horn County dropped one active case and now has 27. There are now 58 active cases statewide.
The two Gallatin County cases involve a man in his 40s and a man in his 20s. The Yellowstone County case involves a woman in her 70s.
The total cumulative cases statewide according to state health officials now stands at 563. MTN is reporting one fewer total case and one fewer recovered case due to a case in Jefferson County that local health authorities report involved a patient who was not in the state.
A total of 487 people have recovered from the virus. Seven people are hospitalized and the death toll remains at 18.
The total number of tests statewide increased by 1,161 to 55,777.