Guilford County government has announced that it will no longer allow reporters into sites where its coronavirus testing is taking place.

In the past, members of the media have been allowed to enter the sites to take pictures, record video or interview willing test subjects. However, a new message from the county to all local media outlets makes it clear that that practice is over.

The statement to local news organizations reads, “Beginning Monday, July 6, please note that the media will not be allowed into sites where testing is taking place.”

It goes on to say that members of the media will still be allowed to film footage or take pictures outside of testing sites.

Guilford County government is closed for the holiday weekend and county officials have given no explanation for the new directive, however, no doubt one concern has to do with privacy issues surrounding health care, and it’s possible that some of those being tested for the disease didn’t appreciate having reporters with cameras in the vicinity.  

Since the pandemic hit North Carolina and Guilford County earlier this year, stories of the tests, along with video of the events, have run frequently on local television news broadcasts.

Guilford County is taking one step that will help media provide visuals of the testing when a story airs or runs. The county stated it will supply video footage and photos for the media to use in its reports. Reporters can get the footage by contacting Guilford County Communications Manager Worley Smith.

Smith often takes photos of county groundbreakings, events and county commissioners meetings in the course of his duties.

The ban on media at test sites comes at a time when the county is ramping up its testing. On Tuesday, June 30, Guilford County announced a string of COVID-19 testing events in July.