Call screening hotline to arrange appointment
OMAK – Drive-through testing for Coronavirus, COVID-19, was made available at Confluence Health in Omak on Tuesday, April 7 in an effort to allow the clinic to continue seeing patients inside the clinic and to protect both the community and staff from potential exposure to the virus.
“So we are rolling this out and the drive-through testing will be open from 9:30 to 1:30, Monday through Friday. The purpose is really to provide safe and local testing for our patients at Confluence and for the local community. We have improved access to adequate testing supplies and more rapid turnaround times for test results and this has allowed us to expand our testing criteria,” said Crystal Gage, Practice Manager at Confluence Health.
The location of the drive through will be on the east side of the building by the loading dock at 916 Koala Drive. Any patient needing or wanting a test will need to go through the drive through. In order to schedule a test, patients need to call the COVID hotline at 509-663-8711.
“We have a COVID-19 screening line and all patients that will screened at our testing site will need an order placed prior to arrival and basically if patients have symptoms of COVID-19, a fever greater than 100.4 and/or respiratory symptoms such as a cough or sour throat we are recommending that they call our COVID-19 screening line and be triaged either for testing or if patients have more worrisome symptoms they may need face-to-face evaluation with their physician,” said Dr. Beth Avena, a family practitioner at the clinic, who added that health care providers can also refer appointments.
“Once its determined that someone needs a test and doesn’t require additional evaluation beyond the test, then the order for the test is placed,” adds Gage.
The reason for drive-through testing is it allows for safe testing ensuring both staff and patient safety and provides a central location in the county, according to Gage. She said the drive-through at Omak is patterned after the one that Confluence Health operates in Wenatchee.
“Now that we have more adequate testing supplies the turnaround time has decreased,” said Gage, who adds that prior to the creation of the drive through the Omak Clinic had done very limited testing.
On the matter whether there are enough testing kits in Okanogan County, Gage said, “So as of now we believe we have plenty of the kits and our testing kits will basically be replaced based on the volume of the patients that we test.”
The priority is to keep staff and the community safe and testing in that building is not ideal and this will greatly allow us to expand testing and keep both patients and staff inside the clinic while testing is going on outside,” she said.
On the question as to whether people should drive themselves to the test, both women agree that this depends on their condition based on their provider’s recommendation or how they answer the questions on the hotline.
“So what happens is we ask patients to call the screen line and the triage process will help determine if the patient is able to drive themselves or should have someone drive them or go to the ER.” said Dr. Avena. “Our number one priority is the health and well being of our patients and staff.”
They also agree that the tests have value not only for the patient, but for the community in that the patients will find out whether they need treatment for the virus and if they do can be better isolated from potentially spreading the virus to other people.