For individuals with symptoms or close contact with a case
This week, PureView Health Center began offering COVID-19 testing at Parker Medical Center to members of the public in Lincoln who are showing symptoms or who have had close contact with a case.
Previously, testing had been limited to Parker Medical patients, but as the number of cases increases throughout the county and in Lincoln, PureView has opted to expand testing to non-patients as well beginning Monday, Nov. 23.
"I think it's increased enough to have the staff say we have to do something different," said PureView Executive Director Jill Steeley. She stressed that the testing is not for individuals simply seeking to get a clean bill of health for holiday travel or for other reasons.
The tests are available by appointment from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the morning, every day of the week except Wednesday. To schedule an appointment, call 406-362-4603.
Individuals with an appointment for COVID-19 tests will need to park in the Pureview parking lot in a designated space and call 362-4603 to let clinic staff know he or she is on site. Once some required paperwork is completed and the screening is completed, a courier will take the tests to the state lab for analysis. Steeley said test results are currently taking between four and six days to get back, due to the number of tests the labs are currently dealing with.
With cases on the increase, the guidelines that have been in place since spring have taken on a greater importance for health care providers.
"We really need to get cases to decrease," Steeley said "The only way we're going to do that is if people follow the prevention guides. To wear a mask over your nose and mouth whenever you're out in a public setting or near another person who's not part of your household; to avoid social gatherings and crowds; to say home if you're not feeling well and to wash your hands frequently."
Steeley knows mask wearing is uncomfortable, but urges everyone to wear one -properly - regardless. "No one wants to wear the mask, but it's the only way we're going to get this slowed down."
With the prospect of effective COVID-19 vaccines, and large-scale distribution, on the horizon, Steeley said PureView is starting to plan for that effort. It is expected to be the largest vaccine distribution effort in U.S. history. PureView has hired a project manager to help plan for vaccination clinics, however, the details surrounding the eventual distribution aren't yet firmly established.
An interim CDC "playbook" lays out a potential three-phased approach, assuming supplies of the vaccine will be limited initially. The first phase concentrated on health care providers, adults with high risk medical conditions, people 65 and older, including those in long-term care facilities, and non-healthcare essential workers. The second phase would provide access to other critical populations and expand the provider network. The final phase would see the vaccination made available to the entire population.