Drive-thru COVID-19 testing center to open Monday

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GARDEN CITY — Beginning on Monday a drive-thru COVID-19 testing center was to open at the Finney County Fairgrounds in the West Pavilion.


Colleen Drees, Finney County Health Department director, said the Kansas Department of Health and Environment approached the Health Department about the ability to provide more testing supplies to support the county with a drive-thru screening.


“We jumped at the opportunity to provide this service for our community,” she said. “As we follow the same trend as other communities with a gradual increase in positive cases, a drive-thru screening process allows us to logistically handle the increased number of tests, increased traffic flow and also limit our exposure to the staff who are conducting the screenings.”


Testing is by appointment only, Drees said. They are testing patients who are symptomatic.


“If you’re not symptomatic, then you wouldn’t test positive,” she said. “You have to be symptomatic to actually test positive. If you don’t have symptoms going on, then you’d be negative.”


Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and loss of taste and smell.


The test is nasopharyngeal, meaning a swab goes in your nose to get the sample.


The process to get tested will follow the current Health Department operations, Drees said.


“We still screen patients over the COVID-19 Hotline, then if they have the symptoms we’ll make an appointment to test those who fit the criteria set forth by KDHE,” she said.


Drees said turnaround time on the test results is typically 24 to 72 hours. All of the tests are going to the KDHE lab.


It’s exciting to be able to offer this testing platform to the community, to be able to test more symptomatic patients, Drees said.


“This is important because it allows us the possibility of testing more individuals each day,” she said. “It also helps us with traffic flow and it also limits exposure to our staff members. It's of course very convenient for citizens so that they can stay in their car at all times, they don't even need to get out.”