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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

First Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Sites Very Limited In Cincinnati

UC Health
UC Health is now testing for COVID-19 without patients having to enter a medical facility.

Updated Friday, 10:00 a.m.

On Tuesday, UC Health began offering drive-thru screening and testing for COVID-19, but only with a doctor's referral. On Wednesday, the hospital issued a statement announcing it would limit drive-thru testing to the "most urgent and critical needs."

"Due to high demand and the need to prioritize available testing supplies for the most urgent and critical needs, the amount of appointments available for our drive-thru COVID-19 testing will fluctuate each day," the statement reads. 

UC says it is prioritizing those with "the most severe health challenges." 

The hospital recommends patients with non-emergent symptoms instead stay home and call their primary care physician for direction. 

The idea is to decrease the chances of someone carrying the coronavirus coming into the emergency room, or their physician's office.

For patients who do qualify for testing, they will be tested without having to leave their vehicle.

UC Health says results should be available within 72 hours, depending on the number of people seeking testing. While awaiting results, patients are advised to stay home.

Along with the appointment, people should bring a photo identification, and their insurance card.

The clinic is outside the West Professional Building, at 3120 Burnet Avenue. The clinic will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

Premier Health in Dayton also has set up a drive-thru screening area. It too requires a doctor's order. The site is at the University of Dayton Arena Parking lot, and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Christ Hospital has a site open but not for long. On Monday a spokesman said they opened the first in Mason, and tested more than 100 people. Friday morning, the hospital said that site would close at the end of the day.

"COVID-19 test kit availability continues to diminish across the state. We currently do not have indication from the state on when additional kits will be available," Bo McMillan says. "We ask patients and individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home and isolate from their families as best they can."

McMillan says if symptoms worsen, contact your primary care provider, or for more serious cases, including respiratory distress, they should call 911.

On Thursday, Christ Hospital was supposed to open a drive-up site at 2139 Auburn in Mt. Auburn, where people did not need an order from their physician. But on Wednesday the hospital canceled that plan. "Due to high demand for testing and limited testing materials in the region, the site's opening has been delayed," a statement reads. "The site is set up and ready to see patients once an appropriate amount of testing materials can be secured to ensure smooth operations in the coming weeks." 

In the meantime, the hospital asks that people with flu-like symptoms stay home and call their primary care doctor. 

This story will be updated as new information becomes available.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.