COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio National Guard has had boots on the ground in Columbus the last three weeks helping with COVID testing at a mass testing site.

An emergency physician with the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center says this has helped the emergency department.

The site is CAS off Olentangy River Road, and it’s by appointment only.

You can typically get an appointment day of.

“Afghanistan, Qatar, I’ve been all over the world — first time for this,” said Master Sergeant Robert Stephens.

This is his latest mission with the Ohio National Guard: conducting testing for COVID-19.

He’s been with the team at CAS since this drive-thru test site opened in early January.

“The most we did in one day was 1100 in an eight-hour span,” he said.

Friday the load was a little lighter, with 200 appointments scheduled for testing.

Dr. Mark Conroy, an emergency physician with the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, said funneling the testing outside of the hospital has helped his team immensely.

“Last two weeks of December we were seeing a lot of walk-up cases of individuals who really weren’t seeking care as much as they were seeking testing.”

Conroy said they are still seeing patients with COVID-19, and with testing away from the emergency department, they’re able to get to those who need help much faster.

He said this site is still needed in the area.

“As long as those 200 individuals are needing to be tested every day, those are 200 individuals. Even a small percentage of them that come to the emergency department would make things even more difficult on the front-line staff,” he said.

As for Master Sergeant Stephens, he said it’s all part of his job.

“We’re here to help. I mean it feels good to help the community it feels good to help the staff — relieve pressure on them.”

You can schedule an appointment on your Ohio State ‘MyChart’ account if you have one or call the COVID Call Center at 614-293-4000.