Bangor healthcare organizations and City of Bangor open appointment only drive-up testing site at Bass Park to screen for COVID-19
In an effort to streamline testing for COVID-19 virus, Northern Light Health, in conjunction with the City of Bangor, St. Joseph Healthcare, and PCHC are establishing an appointment only drive-up screening site at Bass Park in Bangor. Initially, drive-up testing will be available with a lab order only for patients who meet certain clinical criteria – individuals must call ahead for a phone screening and lab order or be referred by a caregiver at a hospital or medical practice. The site tested a limited number of patients today to assess the setup and is expected to become fully operational on Friday, March 20.
“We’re requiring individuals to receive a lab order for drive-up testing so we can provide the safest, most efficient testing possible and because there is strong evidence to suggest that this test is not accurate for people who are not showing symptoms of COVID-19. Someone who has the disease but does not have symptoms is likely to return a negative test,” says James Jarvis, MD, Northern Light Health.
Drive-up testing expedites care for all patients, including those who are visiting hospitals and clinics for medical concerns unrelated to COVID-19 virus. This approach to testing also reduces the use of, and potential infection risk associated with putting on and taking off personal protective gear.
Individuals who arrive at the testing site after receiving a lab order will complete a brief registration process. Then, a staff member will swab the individual’s nose. Results are returned in approximately two days. Until test results come back, anyone who has COVID-19 virus symptoms should stay home from work, school, and away from other public places.
A hotline is being set up for individuals to call for phone screening. Northern Light Health anticipates that it will become available on Friday.
By working together, greater Bangor’s healthcare organizations and the city hope to make testing as simple and straightforward as possible.
“Northern Light Health is pleased to collaborate with local healthcare organizations and the city on this approach to screening that has worked very well in other states,” adds Dr. Jarvis. “I’m proud of the way that the greater Bangor community has come together to respond during such an uncertain time.”
The Bangor site is one of many remote screening sites that Northern Light Health is setting up around Maine. For more information about testing sites at other locations, community members are asked to check their local hospital websites for announcements.
For the most up-to-date information, the community is encouraged to visit the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention website (www.cdc.gov), the Maine CDC website (www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc), and the Northern Light Health, St. Joseph Hospital, PCHC, and City of Bangor websites.