Wheeling Hospital Off-Site COVID-19 Testing Altered
March 30, 2020
WHEELING, W.Va. – Beginning Wednesday, testing at Wheeling Hospital’s off-site symptomatic COVID-19 Testing Center will be altered to allow patients to skip the tests for flu and strep.
Since it opened, patients at the drive-through testing site first were tested for Influenza A and B, as well as strep throat. If the results are positive, that person is directed to return home and call their primary care provider for further instructions. If the results are negative, the patient then is tested for COVID-19.
But as the cases of flu begin to drop, the hospital has opted to focus all the testing on COVID only.
“As is typical in the spring, flu activity is decreasing, and confirmed by the CDC,” said Wheeling Hospital Director of Corporate Health Dr. Clark Milton. “And although by no means is influenza gone for the season, at this time Wheeling Hospital is shifting the testing focus to COVID-19.”
The Testing Center, located at Wheeling Park, opened March 18. As of Monday afternoon, the hospital staff had swab-tested nearly 620 patients.
The regional center handles patients from all of the area’s hospitals in the WVU Medicine System including Harrison Community, Reynolds Memorial, Barnesville and Wetzel Community.
The testing is not for the general public. It is for at-risk patients who have a valid order from a physician. In order to be tested, those interested may use the hospital’s COVID-19 one-call number at 304-221-3995. Nurse navigators will triage the patient over the phone. If it is determined through the call that the patient is symptomatic, that person’s name will be sent to the Testing Center and the order entered into the computer list.
Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, cough, and travel to an endemic area or contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
Patients may elect to call their primary care physicians. Wheeling Hospital-employed physicians will follow the triage protocol then decide whether to send the patients to the Testing Center, where the order will be placed. Patients of independent physicians of those from other hospitals will be directed to the one-call number.
The tests are sent to a private laboratory, and the results go to the person’s primary care provider. Until results are received by the physician, the patient is instructed to return home to self-quarantine.
The testing site is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
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