Prisma Health in Greenville offering drive-through coronavirus testing
Prisma Health on Monday began offering limited drive-through COVID-19 testing for patients with electronic orders from a Prisma provider or from a virtual-visit provider.
Testing will be done in Greenville at Prisma's Greenville Memorial Medical Campus on the lower level of the South Parking Deck. The site will operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The scene Monday was like a scene from the "X-files," said Traci Fant of Greenville. She told The Greenville News that she drove through and took pictures of the scene as media gathered across the street.
"It's crazy," Fant said. "Everybody in suits and stuff, that's what it was like — X Files, like ground zero for X Files. I ain't ever seen anything like it."
When patients drive up, health care staff dressed in gowns, gloves and face masks will take a nasal swab so that patients won’t have to get out of the car, said Dr. Wendell James III, chief clinical officer for Prisma Health-Upstate, formerly Greenville Health System.
“We are using a significant amount of personal protective equipment with our staff. We don’t want them to get sick,” he said.
The CDC on Monday reported the first employee testing positive with the virus.
James said the first day of the testing brought a “fairly good response,” though he didn’t have the number.
But Prisma has the capacity for ramped up testing now and is working with Quest Diagnostics to run the tests, so it doesn’t have to rely on the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, he said.
“This is as serious as any really significant viral illness we had in the past,” he said. “And the public is being very responsible by self-isolating when we ask them to, taking down public meetings and large gatherings. Social distancing will be beneficial from the standpoint of how many people will be infected.”
Plans are underway to expand testing for more people at additional sites, officials said.
Officials said that patients must have a provider order for the COVID-19 test and official personal identification. Paper orders from physicians will not be accepted.
Patients will remain in their car as a sample is collected, officials said. Then results will be sent to the provider who will relay results to the patient, or to DHEC.
It could be four to seven days before they get results because of likely backlogs at labs, officials said.
In Columbia, the site is at Richland Hospital North Portal, near the ER. Patients must have an appointment for their test and testing also is available to patients sent from the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, officials said.
Since patients are suspected to have COVID-19, Prisma asks that patients self-isolate at home until they hear the results of their test to help protect the community from potential exposure. If the patient’s symptoms worsen, they should contact their physician or Prisma Health Virtual Visit provider.
To learn more about Virtual Visits or create an account, visit www.PrismaHealth.org/Virtual-Visit. To access the free virtual visits, use promo code COVID19.
Meanwhile, AnMed Health in Anderson on Tuesday announced that it will conduct screening - not testing - for COVID-19 outside the entrance of the ER and potentially other entrances at the main hospital beginning March 18. This is being done to screen visitors and identify patients needing testing or treatment prior to their exposing staff or providers.
AnMed also will begin offering physician-ordered COVID-19 drive-through testing at the entrance of the D.K Oglesby Center, which is located near the flag poles at the North Campus, 2000 East Greenville Street in Anderson. Testing will only be for at-risk, symptomatic patients who have physician-ordered testing which has been scheduled by your ordering physician. The testing will operate from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.
Liv Osby is the health writer at The Greenville News. She can be reached at email@example.com, 864-298-4422 or @livgnews.