The Nevada National Guard led three COVID-19 community based collection sites Aug. 27 and 28 in Esmeralda County, the state’s least populated county lacking a hospital or health clinic, and the only county in Nevada without a confirmed positive case.
“It’s important to test populations like this that don’t have quick access to medical care,” said 1st Lt. Hannah Barrera, 152nd Medical Group, Nevada Air National Guard. “They are in an interesting scenario where they have a lot of transient traffic. They absolutely can be exposed. We are advocating for this community and working to check the presence of COVID-19.”
Esmeralda County is the least populated county in Nevada with about 800 people. Before the Nevada National Guard arrived this week, 79 residents of the county had tested for the virus and none of those tested were positive cases, according to Nevada Health Response.
Esmeralda County does not have a hospital or health clinic. Previously, Esmeralda County residents commuted to outlying locations — whether Tonopah or Hawthorne — to receive tests.
“The National Guard has been fantastic,” Esmeralda County Sheriff Ken Elgan said. “They’ve been very professional. Hopefully everyone in the county stays positive, or I should say negative, and we can remain the only county in the state without a confirmed case.”
The Nevada National Guard provided community based collection sites in Dyer, Silver Peak on Thursday and Goldfield, the county seat, on Friday.
Elgan requested the National Guard’s assistance for testing after the county commission voted to hold the sites. Elgan then submitted the request through the Nevada Division of Emergency Management.
The Nevada National Guard has provided rural and tribal areas around the state with mobile, drive-thru testing sites at about 30 locations this summer.