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Cars line up about 9:15 a.m. Friday, Dec. 18, at the free COVID-19 testing site located in the parking lot at the Paola Adult Education Center. The site will permanently close at the end of the day Saturday, March 20.

PAOLA – The free COVID-19 testing site in the parking lot of the Paola Adult Education Center is permanently closing at the end of the day Saturday, March 20.

Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Whelan said Friday, March 19, that he had received a notice about the closer from WellHealth. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) partnered with WellHealth to operate the drive-through COVID-19 testing site in the education center parking lot.

Paola is one of seven sites in Kansas that are shutting down, Whelan said.

Whelan said free tests will still be available at Rockers Pharmacy in Paola and Vohs Pharmacy in Louisburg. He said residents can get tested at locations outside of Miami County by going to the website: https://www.gogettested.com/kansas.

The free drive-through testing site was established as part of a statewide initiative to ramp up testing. It opened Dec. 18, and 1,476 tests were administered from Dec. 18 to Jan. 31, Whelan said.

Traffic slowed considerably at the outdoor site in February, in part because of a bitter cold snap mid-month.

Whelan said the site logged 149 tests in February and 114 tests from March 1 to March 17. A total of 1,739 tests were given at the site, he said.

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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