In response to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network officials announced drive-up collection sites for COVID-19 testing are opening at four Western Pennsylvania locations.
The site at AHN Bethel Park Health + Wellness Pavilion, 1010 Higbee Drive, Bethel Park, will be operational within the week, according to information released Wednesday morning by the health network.
Collections have begun taking place in the parking garage adjacent to the Wexford Health + Wellness Pavilion in Pine Township. Other collection sites will be in Monroeville in Erie.
When in operation all will be open daily from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Only patients who previously have been evaluated by an AHN-affiliated health care provider for COVID-19 symptoms and who have a valid prescription order from their clinicians may be tested at the drive-up collection sites at this time. On-demand or walk-up testing is not available.
To obtain a test order, the network encourages patients – especially those with COVID-19 or flulike symptoms, such as fever, cough and shortness of breath – to utilize AHN’s various online or phone hotline options, in order to minimize exposure to others.
Patients can call the AHN 24/7 Nurse phone line, 412-Nurse4U, to discuss symptoms with a nurse, or schedule a video visit or an e-visit through MyChart to discuss their concerns with a clinician. After the COVID-19 test is ordered, patients will be contacted directly by AHN to set up a collection appointment.
The collection sites will be able to accommodate up to 20 patients an hour, according to Dr. Thomas Walsh, infectious disease specialist and medical director of AHN’s antimicrobial stewardship program.
At the drive-up locations, signage will direct patients to the secure collection area, where a check-in agent will verify the patient’s identity verbally. If more than one person in the vehicle, each person will need a valid prescription order to be tested.
Those who have been directed to the drive-through locations should be aware of the following:
- Visitors will be given a specific appointment window, in order to minimize wait times.
- Visitors will drive through a secured, marked area and will remain in their vehicles throughout the entire collection process.
- No outdoor restrooms will available at the collection locations.
- The sample is collected via a nasal swab. The process typically takes less than 30 seconds.
- The sample will be tested for influenza as well as the novel coronavirus.
- Individuals will be contacted directly with their flu results within 24 hours. If the sample tests negative for influenza, the sample will also be tested for the coronavirus, a process that typically takes two to three days, depending on regional test volume. As volumes increase, wait times for results may be longer.
- While waiting for their test results, individuals should stay at home. Those who receive positive COVID-19 test results may be issued additional care orders or self-isolation orders.
The drive-up collection sites will minimize unnecessary visits into clinical offices, waiting rooms, and hospital emergency departments, mitigating the potential spread of COVID-19, Walsh said.