COVID-19 has impacted hospitals and healthcare clinics significantly on a global scale. Midwest Express Clinic has had to adjust protocol and accommodate its facilities to be able to test and treat for the virus. Clinics have had to split in order to avoid cross-contamination between COVID patients and non-COVID patients.
While testing locations for COVID-19 is limited, Midwest Express Clinic is working to expand its availability to handle COVID cases. While the clinic has locations in Hammond, IN, Blue Island, IL, and River North, Chicago, IL and Lakeview, Chicago, IL, that are not currently open for COVID testing, these locations will become available for testing in the future. Most of their locations already handle COVID and non-COVID-related cases with all their other facilities working to able to do the same.
The scenes of all Midwest’s locations have altered in light of the virus.
“Everything has been more tedious,” Kate Cunningham, Operations and HR, said. “Our staff has to work extra-long hours and make sure they’re not contaminating themselves and other patients. They have to sanitize between every patient. They have to be extremely careful.”
With an increased demand for care and a faster pace, Cunningham said they are hiring in droves. They are looking to increase their number of employees and their number of clinics. This will help them maintain day-to-day operations managing the hundreds of phone calls and patients that come in every day.
For those who are looking to be tested for COVID-19 at a Midwest Express Clinic, Cunningham explained the testing process.
“They should expect a brief survey to determine whether they’re symptomatic or asymptomatic,” Cunningham said. “After that, we’ll determine whether we can see the patient inside the clinic or curbside. From there, they will receive their test. It’s a swab test for right now, but we will be offering the rapid test. Either way, it is like a Q-tip that goes up your nostril for about 60 seconds. They’ll feel a little bit of discomfort, not necessarily pain. We send that test back to the lab and then we receive the results.”
If someone tested positive for the virus, a follow-up visit will be scheduled. If the test result is negative, Midwest Express Clinic generally will send the result to the patient through their patient portal. The test has an accuracy percentage of 99.4%, so those who have been tested should be rest assured with their results.
While Midwest Express Clinic does not recommend that those who have tested negative for COVID get retested, some businesses may require their employees to get retested. Outside of a potential job requirement, retesting is typically unnecessary.
A normal question brought up by those who have tested negative for the virus is whether they should quarantine.
“If you do not have any symptoms and remain fever-free, you no longer have to quarantine,” Kaitlyn Steinberg, FNP-BC Director of Clinical Operations, said. “If you have a fever, loss of taste or smell, or a sore throat, shortness of breath, or rash, we would definitely recommend consulting a provider on the appropriate next steps.”
Of course, those who have tested positive have a different recommendation.
“We recommend that COVID-positive patients wait a minimum of 21 to 28 days to be retested,” Steinberg said. “If tested sooner, it may still come out as positive.”
While the wait to be retested if positive should be 21 to 28 days, the length of one’s quarantine should last a minimum of 14 days. Steinberg went on to say that family members or those in close, regular proximity of COVID-positive individuals should monitor themselves for symptoms for five to seven days.
COVID-19 has hit healthcare workers hard, but employees at Midwest Express Clinic have been resilient in the face of the struggle.
“We want to thank all of our staff members for fighting this pandemic day in and day out,” Cunningham said. “They take it as a challenge, and they’ve been very good about making sure they’re following all protocols and making sure that they follow up with patients.”
Cunningham reiterated the importance of slowing the spread and advised the public to follow the three C’s: clean, cover, contain. She also said to be on their social media and website to see when rapid testing will be available.
Be on the lookout for the announcement at these locations: