As COVID-19 cases in Butler County continue to surge, the City of Oxford is partnering with TriHealth to offer free COVID-19 testing in an effort to help the community.
The free testing is available now, and Assistant City Manager Jessica Greene said any Oxford resident is eligible — insured or not.
“Anyone who lives in Oxford, who does not have insurance, but who’s having some sort of COVID symptom can go to the McCullough-Hyde urgent care and have a free test,” Greene said. “They just have to leave some sort of contact information so we can get a hold of them with their results.”
City officials said free testing will be available for Oxford community members until Dec. 31.
Vice Mayor William Snavely said he was prompted to take action after he saw the effects of COVID-19 on the community first-hand.
“One of the first people who died from COVID-19 [in Oxford] lived across the street from me,” Snavely said. “I believe this made the entire crisis vividly apparent to all of us.”
Snavely’s neighbor was Mike Davis, treasurer and CFO of Talawanda School District, who passed away on April 10 and became the third person in Butler County to die from COVID-19.
Since then, 10 other residents within the 45056 zip code, of which Oxford is a major part have died from the coronavirus.
Snavely said City Council has been trying to come up with ways to support its citizens, and one of those ways is free testing.
“We were the recipients of CARES Act funding, and we were mainly concerned with people whose insurance would not cover [testing], and so we’ve partnered with McCullough-Hyde Hospital and TriHealth,” Snavely said. “And so we’re real proud of having done that.”
City Manager Doug Elliott said in a City Council meeting on Nov. 3 that two tests had been administered in the previous week using the program.
“We’re happy that we’re providing this service, and we have people that are utilizing the program already,” Elliott said.
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Elliott also mentioned how impressed he was with how Miami University students were handling the situation.
“I see lots of students in Kroger and other places, and for the most part, they’re complying,” Elliott said. “Of course, in any society, you have those with differing opinions. Some may not feel it’s necessary to wear [masks], which I don’t understand.”
Snavely shook his head in agreement.
“I was just in uptown tonight, and I saw a lot of people on the street, and I only saw one person with a mask on, and that was disheartening,” Snavely said. “It’s a little frightening for people who live here year round and who’ve tried so hard to keep things under control.”
For Snavely, wearing a mask furthers the efforts that City Council goes through to protect citizens, as well as being able to open back up.
“If everybody were to wear masks, it would dramatically reduce the spread of COVID, and then pretty soon, we can open everything back up,” Snavely said.
“This is not a political decision,” Snavely added. “If anything, it’s an IQ test.”
Interested community members can schedule a COVID test by visiting the City of Oxford website.