A Crossett doctor will host a COVID-19 community testing site April 13.
Dr. Barry Thompson will host the drive-through site from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the parking lot behind his office. The testing is being completed in collaboration with Natural State Laboratories, a genetic laboratory based in North Little Rock.
“The community testing is to see exactly what is going on in the community,” Thompson said.
Those who want to be tested do not need a referral from another physician. The laboratory accepts all insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. Those who come need to bring a driver’s license and an insurance card.
The testing is for anyone who feels they need testing, Thompson said.
“We have been able to do very limited testing until now with results taking 13 to 14 days to come back,” he said.
“Twenty-five percent of the population is shown to be carrying the virus and not having any symptoms, and if we can detect these people, they can go into quarantine, cut off their contacts and prevent the spread in the community. They don’t know they (have the virus and) go to Walmart, to the local grocery store and they spread it to only so many people, but then (those people) spread it to other people.”
Thompson said it’s important to identify as many cases as possible early to stem the tide of infections.
“We need to detect it before the majority of people are sick and overwhelming the local hospital system,” he said. “The earlier we can detect people with coronavirus and have them self-quarantine and protect their loved ones the better off we are.”
Those seeking the testing will enter the parking lot from Pine Street. They will keep their car windows and doors closed while volunteers in protective equipment will ask them a series of questions.
At the second stop, Thompson will have the person seeking testing roll down their window enough that he can take their temperature.
The next two stations will be with laboratory employees, who will perform the tests via nasal swab.
“We will tell them to expect results in three days,” Thompson said. “We will call them if they are negative, and if they are positive we will advise them of what to do and their primary physicians will have their report.”
The criteria for those who will be tested at the site includes those who have:
-Fever or chills
-Shortness of breath or other lower respiratory symptoms
-Abdominal pain or diarrhea
-Close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or is in quarantine
-Close contact with someone who recently traveled from New York, New Jersey, California, Michigan, Massachusetts, Florida, Iillinois, Washington, Pennslyvania or Lousiana
-Any person needing testing before returning to work
Thompson advised other members of the public who have not experienced symptoms or been exposed to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 to take protective measures to prevent the spread of the disease, including social distancing and everyday precautions like hand washing and avoiding contact with sick people.