U Of U Health Opens Drive-Up Coronavirus Testing Tents
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — University of Utah Health officials are giving people more options when it comes to testing for COVID-19 with three drive-up tent stations in the Salt Lake Valley and one in Farmington.
The drive-up stations also include a quick screening and exam to help doctors identify those who need a test and those who might just have a cold or allergies.
“We’re going to be able to say yes, you need a test, no, you don’t need a test, you’re not a high enough risk, or your condition doesn’t warrant it,” said Dr. Richard Orlandi, chief medical officer for Ambulatory Health.
Doctors said the process will take about 15 minutes, but they want Utahns to call their doctor or the University of Utah Health COVID-19 hotline (801-587-0712) before showing up.
“What we want is for our patients to be pre-screened. So they call in ahead, and they either do a virtual urgent care visit, or a telephone encounter with a provider, which then they deem whether they meet the criteria for COVID,” said Traci Wood, physician assistant and medical director for University of Utah Urgent Care. “If they meet that criteria, then we send them to one of our drive-up swab sites. They drive up, they get checked in by one of our University of Utah staff and then they go through each tent location.”
Since tests for the coronavirus are in such high demand right now, doctors said they need to use them on patients who are most likely to actually have the virus, and not maybe a cold or allergies.
“A lot of the community don’t meet the criteria yet for COVID and we really want to keep those…tests available for those who really need them,” Wood said.
“Once they make that phone call and have that initial conversation about what needs to be done, whether it’s testing or evaluation, then we can have people show up at one of those sites,” Orlandi said.
Officials said those who meet the criteria for testing should call ahead and schedule a time to prevent long lines at the drive-thru testing tents.
As patients drive up to one of the four locations, they’re asked a series of questions about symptoms and possible exposure to COVID-19.
Then there are typical doctor’s visit checkups on breathing and blood pressure.
The hope is that more people can be tested easily, better minimizing the spread and reducing the strain on Utah’s health care system.
Drive-Up Testing Tent Locations
Drive-up evaluations for COVID-19 will take place Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the following locations:
Sugar House Health Center
1280 East Stringham Avenue, Salt Lake City
Redwood Health Center
1525 West 2100 South, Salt Lake City
South Jordan Health Center
5126 West Daybreak Parkway, South Jordan
Farmington Health Center
165 North University Avenue, Farmington
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How Do I Prevent It?
The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
- Avoid touching your face
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.
How To Get Help
If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.
If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at email@example.com.
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