Coronavirus testing in Hamilton County is shifting locations as the county approaches the start of the school year.
Many testing sites in past months have been located at area schools but, starting Monday, testing will be available from 7 to 11 a.m. at the Alstom site on Riverfront Parkway, the Hamilton County Health Department announced Friday.
Testing will remain free and will not require an appointment. The Alstom site had previously been discussed by county officials as a possible location for overflow hospital patients.
The department reported 75 new cases Friday, bringing the county total to 5,435 cases with 1,411 cases currently active.
Becky Barnes, health department administrator, announced two new COVID-19 deaths Friday — a white man between 71 and 80 years old with underlying health conditions and a white man between 51 and 60 years old with underlying health conditions — bringing the county death toll to 48.
The announcement, on the last day of July, makes this the deadliest month for the virus, with 18 deaths.
The turnaround time for test results is dropping back to 24 to 48 hours, Barnes said, after a period of time with an "unacceptable" turnaround time of around four days.
Barnes cautioned people in the community to continue following the countywide mask-in-public mandate, especially when attending large events. The health department is seeing an increase in cases linked to spread at such events, Barnes said.
"We all need to wear masks as directed, practice strict social distancing, wash hands frequently and everyone needs to treat everyone like they have COVID-19. This is how we reduce the virus in our community," she said.
Barnes also clarified how weddings and funerals are religious services and therefore exempt from the mask mandate. However, only the service part of a wedding or funeral is under the religious exemption and masks are required during preparation or other parts of the event, Barnes said.
The department has so far received 120 complaints about businesses not complying, a number Barnes said is low enough to show good compliance.
"I believe we are moving in the right direction," she said. "The change we see in the community is very positive."
Contact Wyatt Massey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6249. Follow him on Twitter @news4mass.