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Cars line up about 9:15 a.m. Friday, Dec. 18, at the free COVID-19 testing site in the parking lot at the Paola Adult Education Center on the first day it was in operation.

PAOLA — A free COVID-19 testing initiative is being extended through January 2021.

Mark Whelan, emergency management coordinator with the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, said he has received word from the vendor conducting the testing that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) will continue the COVID-19 Unified Testing Strategy for Kansas program through Jan. 31.

The information Whelan received indicates the goal is to maintain the current footprint and operating model for the month of January. The program initially was to end Dec. 31.

The testing site is located in the parking lot of the Paola Adult Education Center at 1710 Industrial Park Drive. The free saliva tests are available for adults and children — no symptoms required, according to the Miami County Health Department.

Testing at the Paola site is offered from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Appointments for a test at the Paola site can be made online at https://www.gogettested.com/kansas. Appointments aren’t required, but encouraged.

The site is being offered in collaboration with the KDHE, Miami County Emergency Management and Miami County Health Department.

Whelan said in an earlier email the tests are free and no ID is required.

A person’s name and phone number or email is required for notification purposes if the test comes back positive, according to emergency management. An authorization and consent form will need to be signed.

About 140 Miami County residents passed through the free COVID-19 testing site the first day it was open Friday, Dec. 18 — nearly triple the anticipated daily average, Whelan said.

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

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