BayCare Announces Refinements to Drive-Thru COVID-19 Test Collection Sites
Clearwater, Fla., (March 20, 2020) – BayCare Health System on Friday announced refinements to its drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites to ensure that patients who are most at risk are the ones being tested. The changes are a response to patient patterns seen since the sites opened Wednesday, because of limited testing supplies.
“To help understand what is happening in our community, we need to be able to identify whether patients with symptoms are carrying the virus so they can isolate and not spread it further,” said Dr. Nishant Anand, chief medical officer for BayCare Health System. “Based on our experience and testing capacity, we are targeting those individuals.”
The refinements to the sites’ processes and operations are:
- Starting Saturday, the seven locations across West Central Florida will reduce hours and only be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Screening criteria regarding physical symptoms are being narrowed slightly to confirm that a patient currently is experiencing physical symptoms. Previously, patients had been asked if they had experienced symptoms in the past 14 days. The COVID-19 test relies on virus particles being present in nasal passages, from which the patient would be experiencing respiratory symptoms.
- Physicians referring patients for testing are being asked to complete a new form that the patient is to bring to the testing site. The form is explicit about the need for a patient to be displaying physical symptoms as well as meeting other criteria for screening as established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We need to be testing symptomatic individuals – those with fever, shortness of breath, a cough -- and reserving our limited supplies for those cases,” said Dr. Anand. “Every asymptomatic patient we test means one less swab is available to those more likely to test positive.”
BayCare, a community health system dedicated to the public’s health, opened the sites Wednesday morning. By end of day on Thursday, the seven locations had screened 3,275 individuals across Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties using the CDC guidelines. Of those patients, 1,879 were deemed at high risk for COVID-19 and had a specimen taken for testing.
Results from the tests are not expected until five to seven days after the specimen was collected. Patients will be called with their results, which also will be reported to the Florida Department of Health as required by state law.
Due to patient privacy laws, BayCare requires members of the media to coordinate and be accompanied by a member of the BayCare Communications Department when visiting a testing site.
- BayCare Urgent Care (Carillon)
- 900 Carillon Parkway, Suite106, St. Petersburg, FL 33716
- BayCare Urgent Care (New Port Richey)
- 4821 U.S. Highway 19, New Port Richey, FL 34652
- BayCare Urgent Care (Countryside)
- 3351 N. McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater, FL 33761
- BayCare Urgent Care (Tampa)
- 3440 W. Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd., Suite 100, Tampa, FL 33607
- BayCare Urgent Care (New Tampa)
- 17512 Dona Michelle Drive, Suite 5, Tampa, FL 33647
- BayCare Urgent Care (Bloomingdale)
- 2442 Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico, FL 33596
- BayCare Urgent Care (Haines City)
- 36245 U.S. Highway 27, Haines City, FL 33844
Besides the impacted BayCare Urgent Care centers used as testing sites, BayCare is closing several BayCare Laboratory Patient Service Centers to create the resources to staff the testing sites. To find which BayCare Urgent Care centers and laboratories remain open to serve patients with non-COVID-19-related illnesses and injuries, visit baycare.org/coronavirus/closures
About BayCare Health System
BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 15 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. For more information, visit www.BayCare.org.
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