Hundreds visit Medford’s new coronavirus testing site, officials say

MEDFORD, Ore. — “[To] isolate those patients [and] to evaluate people they’ve been in contact with, is very important for public health,” said Dr. Scott Wilber, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Asante Rogue Regional.

To stop the spread of coronavirus, it’s important to know who has it. That’s the goal of Asante’s new testing location in Medford.

“We’re keeping probably hundreds of people from going to their emergency department when they’re sick with upper respiratory illness and congregating together in crowded waiting rooms,” said Dr. Wilber.

The site by the south Fred Meyer and Planet Fitness opened Friday.

Dr. Wilber says healthcare workers there are collecting swab tests.

“You pull up in the car, someone comes out with their personal protective equipment on. We get you checked in and they do the nasal swab. It’s a very quick test,” he said.

But Dr. Wilber says the test isn’t available to everyone.

“You have to be accessed by a physician or a nurse practitioner or PA and receive an order to be able to come and get tested,” he said.

The material is sent off to labs across the country, however, getting those results back could take a while.

“Everybody in the country is also using those same laboratories,” said Dr. Wilber.

Asante Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Aaron Ott says isolating patients at the testing site helps prevent overcrowding at Asante hospitals.

“Our goal is to not have what we saw in both China and Italy where they’ve right now run out of vents,” he said. “They’re having to make drastic changes.”

He says that makes the work they do at the new testing site an essential first step.

“We want to be able to meet the needs of southern Oregon and still be able to meet the needs of this event,” said Ott.

The facility will be open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm.

Again, Asante says you must have a doctor’s order first before going to the testing site or you will be turned away.

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