Kaiser opens COVID-19 ‘drive-up’ clinics for its members

Coronavirus. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control
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As part of its response plan to combat the novel coronavirus, Kaiser Permanente has opened “drive-up” testing sites for its members who have met the necessary criteria, officials said. 

Kaiser will not disclose details of their pilot “drive-up” test centers but they have opened at many locations in Southern California, according to spokeswoman Chelsi Schriver. 

In the Santa Clarita Valley, Kaiser has three medical offices. Operations have also started in Northern California, with at least one testing center open in San Francisco. 

Site addresses — or their hours of operations and how many tests are conducted or available daily — are not released due to the privacy of Kaiser members, Schriver added. 

“They are private and we stress the need to protect the privacy of members and staff who participated,” she said via email. 

The setup of the “drive-up” sites “enable(s) Kaiser Permanente to safely test patients who may have COVID-19 in accordance with public health authority guidelines while providing full protection for our staff and minimizing potential COVID-19 exposure at Kaiser Permanente medical centers and in the community,” said Dr. David Witt, an infectious disease specialist with the health care company. 

Because COVID-19 screenings are currently limited, high-risk patients who meet the Centers for Disease Control criteria for testing and have received a doctor’s order are eligible for free testing, according to a Kaiser FAQ on its website. 

How it works

A Kaiser patient must first be evaluated and receive confirmation from a physician to get screened. If ordered, the patient should receive pre-arranged information about a “drive-up” clinic’s location and time. 

Medical staff would then greet the patient and “get necessary specimens for COVID-19 testing while the patient remains in their car,” said Witt. 

Test results are expected to take anywhere between one to seven days, depending on the lab tasked with processing information, according to Kaiser. 

Patients are instructed to return home and self-isolate while monitoring any symptoms as they wait for test results. 

If someone is concerned about having been exposed to the virus and is presenting symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, cough and shortness of breath), they are advised to call the Appointment and Advice Call Center number on their Kaiser ID card, officials said.

For all local coronavirus-related stories, visit: signalscv.com/2020/03/covid-19-coverage-summary.

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