COVID-19 drive-up tests require Rx, appointment


A prescription and an appointment are needed

TUALATIN, Ore. (KOIN) — Around the state of Oregon there are several drive-up testing sites, and more are on the way. However, if you see a testing station, you can’t just drive in and get swabbed.

Drive-up testing started two weeks ago, but there are restrictions on who can get tested due to the limited number of test kits. Those restrictions start with requiring a prescription for the test from a doctor who is affiliated with that testing site, such as being a Providence patient if you are at a Providence testing location.

Most of these sites also require an appointment.

Providence has tested more than 300 people and caregivers between their two drive-thru testing sites in Portland. Other hospitals like OHSU and Kaiser also have drive-thru sites. Hospitals are testing patients in the emergency room and in other hospital care facilities if doctors determine the symptoms indicate the need.

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“Drive-thru is a great way for patients to be tested without having to go into a clinic,” said Dr. Linda Cruz with Providence Medical Group. “It’s a relatively simple test–people don’t need to get out of their car and it’s just a nasal swab.”

A drive thru COVID-19 test site in Washington County, Oregon, March 26, 2020. (KOIN)

The Oregon Health Authority said while commercial labs can process thousands of tests a week, there is still a problem with getting the test kits from the federal government.

Meanwhile, one of the biggest changes underway is coming from telemedicine. Doctors’ offices are scaling up their virtual office visits to be able to diagnose if someone needs to be tested for the coronavirus. OHSU said it has done more than 1,600 tele-health visits now, compared to about 360 in January.

Ultimately, while those new drive-up test sites might be more visible in the community, folks should not go into them without a prescription from their doctors and an appointment at the specific site.

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