Coronavirus testing will stay at clinics

Testing efforts remain at healthcare clinics after state requirements scrap plans for drive-thru tests.

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March 27, 2020 - 2:59 PM

Efforts to organize a drive-thru or centralized testing site for the COVID-19 coronavirus have been scrapped amid changing requirements by the state.

Current procedures at three Iola health clinics are sufficient, and administrators from each of those facilities agreed to maintain their individual efforts rather than set up a centralized testing site, Patty McGuffin, chief nursing officer at Allen County Regional Hospital, said. She had been investigating the feasibility of a centralized or “drive-thru” testing site, in collaboration with each of the health clinics. 

In all cases, patients are asked to call ahead and follow instructions from healthcare providers. Do not walk into a clinic with coronavirus symptoms without calling ahead.

• ACRH’s clinics are seeing general patients in the mornings, and are scheduling afternoon visits for those with respiratory issues that could potentially be related to COVID-19. Those patients also enter through a separate door and are kept isolated from all but essential staff.

• The Family Physicians clinic also requires a separate entrance for those with coronavirus symptoms.

• Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas has erected a tent to screen patients, and separates those with coronavirus symptoms.

• Those who do not have a regular physician or who experience emergency symptoms after hours can contact ACRH’s emergency room and follow instructions.

“The community is being served in a safe manner in each of these practices with their screening processes,” she said.

On Monday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment issued new guidelines on COVID-19 testing, because of national shortages of testing kits and laboratory supplies. 

They include: 

• Healthcare workers and first responders who have COVID-19 symptoms 

• Potential clusters of unknown respiratory illness, with priority given to long -term care facilities and healthcare facilities 

• Hospitalized patients with no alternative diagnosis 

• Individuals over the age of 60 who have symptoms of COVID-19 with priority given to people who reside in a nursing home, long-term care facility, or other congregate setting, and

• Individuals with underlying health conditions that would be treated differently if they were infected with COVID-19. 

Those who do not meet the threshold for high priority testing are asked to self-isolate for seven days after onset of symptoms.

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