FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Army National Guard began supporting local agencies at Kentucky’s first COVID-19 drive-thru test site at the Franklin County Fairgrounds April 13.
Sixteen Soldiers from the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade are managing traffic at the site, assisting the Kentucky State Police, Department of Public Health, Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, Frankfort Police Department, Kroger Health and other agencies.
“There’s two things that come with our job: To protect and to serve,” said 1st Lt. Corey Oney, a Black Hawk helicopter pilot in the Kentucky Army National Guard and the Army officer in charge at the test site. “We are doing the service part in this operation.”
Oney said he expected about 250 vehicles a day at the site.
Many Guard members are students or employed in their local community. Oney is a pilot for regional carrier Mesa Airlines, flying fixed-wing aircraft out of Louisville International Airport.
“We are citizens when we’re not in the uniform. People should know that we’re Kentuckians for Kentuckians.”
Although Kentucky Guard members will not have personal contact with patrons at the testing sites, they have received extensive training in the correct use of personal protective equipment.
“Everybody out here has the call of service. If you’re doing that, you don’t have the time or thought to worry about yourself when you’re worried about other people.”
The state intends to open multiple testing sites throughout Kentucky and test 20,000 people over five weeks, Gov. Andy Beshear said.
“This will be a success as long as we are helping people,” said Oney. “People are scared right now. We can help them gain comfort by confirming that they don’t have [COVID-19]. If we can confirm that they do have it then they can get the help they need. There’s no more wondering.”
Those eligible for the COVID-19 test include people with symptoms, health care workers, first responders, those 65 and older, and those with chronic health conditions.
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