Hospital handling increased COVID testing volume

File photo / Journal — The COVID testing tent outside Warner Hospital & Health Services, Clinton.

Staff tested 225 people last week

CLINTON — COVID-19 testing at Warner Hospital & Health Services is going well, hospital CEO Paul Skowron told the Clinton Journal Monday.

The hospital recently set up a tent outside the facility to conduct testing.  Last week staff tested 225 people, Skowron said. 

“And those were primarily parents of students who received the letter from the school district,” Skowron said.

Some students were exposed to a student who tested positive for the virus, prompting the unit office to notify parents.  The school district administration is following the lead of the local health department in their handling of the virus.

Some residents have asked why there is no free COVID testing in Clinton. 

“We only need to look at what happened to Gibson Area Hospital (Gibson City),” Skowron said.  “They were overwhelmed.”

Gibson Area Hospital had to close free testing there on Sept. 10 because staff was unable to keep up with the volume.  Skowron said the same would happen at Warner Hospital in those circumstances.

While he said they have moved additional staff to work the COVID testing tent, free testing would overwhelm the hospital as it did in Gibson City.

“We just don’t have the staff,” he said.

Skowron also said free testing would mean unlimited numbers of patients from other counties showing up in Clinton for testing.

Residents who want to be tested at Warner need a doctor’s order faxed to the hospital.  At the testing site, they need their insurance cards and identification.

People being tested enter one end of the tent to register and then wait in another part of the tent.  Skowron said the process was going smoothly and that results were available usually within a couple of hours.

“We haven’t had anyone report that they showed up and couldn’t be tested,” he said.

The tent is open Monday- Friday 9 a.m. to 5.p.m. with a half hour lunch break from noon- 12:30 p.m.   Doctors’ orders should be faxed to (217) 937-5210.

Adjacent small counties are handling COVID testing similarly to Warner Hospital and DeWitt County.

Kirby Medical Center, Monticello, does not perform testing by request.  The nearest drive-through testing site to Monticello is Market Place Mall, Champaign.

In Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital also does not test on demand.  Patients there can be tested 5-7 days following exposure.  Memorial Physicians Service, Lincoln, offers drive-through testing but is not offering COVID testing at the site.  Memorial Express Care South, Springfield, is offering testing by appointment for patients with symptoms.  Payment is by self-pay or insurance.

The Logan County Health Department is performing COVID testing by appointment for patients 5-7 days following exposure.

David Remmert, director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reported Monday his department was working with the Illinois Department of Public Health to provide mobile testing in the county starting sometime in October.

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