MINNESOTA, USA — Editor's Note: Due to the changes in testing criteria, M Health Fairview drive-up testing centers are now closed. Patients can still receive care online through OnCare.org.
Healthcare workers at several M Health Fairview locations have begun suiting up in protective equipment and going outside to take Coronavirus testing curbside.
"We want to make sure we keep our patients and communities safe," said Dr. Stephen Robinson, a family practice physician for M Health Fairview. "We want to minimize exposure to other patients that may be in our clinics or our emergency departments."
During a demonstration of the new testing protocol on Tuesday, medical assistant Reece Wallaker prepared for a visit by putting on gloves, a mask and a face shield before approaching a woman who drove up in her car.
"Hi, can I have you step out of the car please?" Wallaker said. "We're going to be testing you today, so there's going to be three swabs."
In a couple of minutes, Wallaker took a swab of the woman's mouth and two swabs of the woman's nose, and handed them off to another medical assistant in protective gear. In a real scenario, the swabs would be used to test for Coronavirus and Influenza.
"We run the influenza swab first," Dr. Robinson said. "We are still seeing a fair amount of influenza, if we find that a patient has influenza, we do not test them for Coronavirus. One rules the other out."
The curb side service is now offered at four M Health Fairview locations, but you need to call ahead for details and availability.
"It's very important that you contact your healthcare provider before you come for care," Dr. Robinson said. "If there has not been a fever or a cough or a known exposure to someone with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 or travel from one of the high-risk countries, you probably don't need to be tested."
If the Coronavirus test is called for, M Health sends the samples to the Minnesota Department of Health and results come in about a day.
If you have questions about Coronavirus, testing or cost, you can call M Health Fairview at 1-855-324-7843.
KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215.