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MDH adds drive-thru tent to screen for illnesses, including COVID-19

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A hospital in Macomb is working to make screening safer and more convenient for patients and employees.

McDonough District Hospital implemented a drive-thru tent to screen patients for a number of illnesses, including COVID-19, if necessary.

Officials at the hospital said it's just another way to keep everybody safe during the pandemic.

There's a new tent in the McDonough District Hospital parking lot.

"This morning, we opened up a drive-thru service that alligns with our coronavirus nurse and our triage hotline," MDH Medical Group Vice President Peter Rao said.

MDH officials said amid the COVID-19 outbreak, this tent will make it easier for patients to be screened in isolation.

"To make sure that patients or anyone of that nature, we screen them outside the hospital, and we prevent that contamination within the hospital," Rao said.

"Patients will call the hotline, the nurse there will triage them, see if they meet their criteria to be tested, they will get an order from their primary care provider, once that order is placed, the patient can go through the tent," Lindsey Woodford with MDH Clinics Process Improvement said.

MDH officials said if the patient doesn't have emergency symptoms, they'll first screen for other illnesses, including influenza, strep and RSV.

If those results come back negative, they'll look into the COVID-19 test.

"If they are tested for COVID-19, we'll have them come back through the tent," Woodford said.

Officials at MDH wouldn't state how many tests they have, but said they're being frugal, in case a surge of patients would come through.

"I think being conservative is good, I don't think every patient needs a COVID-19 test," Rao said.

The hospital also has two screening tents up by the entrance that all patients and employees have to go through each time they enter.

To date, MDH has no confirmed cases of the virus, but health officials said, they'll be ready to protect everyone, if they would see a case.

"We're hoping this will serve the community and our needs as we go forward," Rao said.

Hospital officials said this drive-thru will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

MDH officials said they currently have 48 beds and could make room for about a dozen more if needed.

Officials would not tell us how many tests they currently have out pending.

The hotline number to register for the drive-thru is 309-836-1715.
The hotline is available from 7 a..m to 7 p.m. every day.

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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