CHESTERFIELD, Mo. — Completely covered from head to toe, health professionals in goggles, gloves, and gowns use a drive-thru to collect samples in search of COVID-19.
"It'll truly be a drive-thru, they'll drive-thru and get underneath the canopy and we will greet the patient in our protective gear."
Mercy started the drive-through testing site in Chesterfield Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It was a first for the hospital as it tried to get a handle on the pandemic that's put daily life on hold. On day one they collected samples from 52 people.
"We are aware this really came and really exploded across the world and now particularly in our country and we've responded by trying to create solutions that help our patients and help decrease some of the worries within the community."
Friday Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced the state now had four presumptive positive COVID- 19 cases, two of those in St. Louis County.
"After our first coronavirus patient we decided that we needed to move significantly …. we are now in a place where originally we were focused on containment and literally within a couple of days now we're starting to need to focus on mitigation," said Dr. Keith Starke, Mercy’s chief quality officer.
The drive-through is an isolated way for Mercy to collect samples, safely, without contaminating staff and other patients.
In order to get a test, patients must be screened through the hospital's coronavirus support line, before arriving.
"So these are patients that meet that screening criteria not just 'I don't feel well today and I think I want to be tested.'"
According to a press release, the test collection site is exclusively for patients who have a fever of at least 100.4 degrees and respiratory symptoms including cough or shortness of breath. Anyone seeking a test must call Mercy’s COVID-19 Clinical Support Line at 314-251-0500 before arriving.
5 On Your Side caught people being turned away on arrival.
"We know that people in the community will just show up... and we have people here to help with that," said Donn Sorensen, Mercy’s executive vice president of operations.
To collect the sample health officials will have to put a swab up your nose to the back of your throat.
this test costs about $100 and Mercy officials say most insurances do cover it.
this drive-thru will be open every day until further notice.
CONTINUING CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE: