Covenant Health System opened a new drive-thru clinic this week at the Peoples Bank Stadium outside of Frenship High School. Three checkpoints are posted in the converted parking lot, one reads registration, triage and the final discharge. A group of nurses gather in the triage tent, one is getting her assignment for her shift, the other is signing out.
“Basically the theory behind the clinics is it allows us to test and care for the patients,” says Covenant Health System Physician, Dr. Beth Cochran, “But it allows them to stay in the car so they’re not being exposed to other patients.”
This is her first week administering COVID tests to patients. So far, she hasn’t seen any results come back as positive, but several of her colleagues have. She explains the process of the drive thru clinic as a silver van pulls up to the registration checkpoint.
Cochran says that ideally, they’ll call their primary care physician, find out if they meet the criteria for testing. They get them checked in and are sure to do as much touch-free as possible.
Then they’ll be triaged in by some of our medical team. They get their vital signs check, speak with a physician and examined if necessary—just to see whether or not they need to do the COVID testing.
From there, Cochran explains, the test is sent out to labs for results. And from what she’s seen, results have started coming back faster—sometimes taking between 24 to 72 hours, depending on the lab.
“Ideally we would be able to test everyone that wants testing,” she says, “And as more tests come online, that may be an option, but right now were still needing to prioritize testing for those that are higher risk, like healthcare workers or people with chronic medical conditions.”
Cochran warns that even if COVID cases appear to dip day to day, we’re not out of the woods just yet. We’re still in the beginning phases of this event. As we finish our conversation, the silver van moves from registration to triage where they’ll find out if they meet the criteria for COVID testing.
“I think we definitely have to be very vigilant and make sure that we stay home and limit the spread,” Cochran says. “Stay home and stay safe. Limit your exposure. If you have to get out, do it as little as possible. You don’t need to go grocery shopping everyday. Buy somethings for the next couple weeks and get back home.”