COVID testing location

We are fortunate that for the most part, our local children’s hospital has been able to keep up with COVID testing needs with a reasonable turn around time. Assuming this may not continue to be the case.
Our office is a strong believer that PCR is the way to go as long as it is available. Too many problems with false positive or false negative with rapid antigen test, even problems with the rapid 15 minute molecular test. It is such an important diagnostic test result and affects so many people around the patient who is getting the test done.
Current protocol is sending patients to testing site run by our children’s hospital, they have to schedule after we put the orders in their system. It is drive by tent with scheduled appointments.
If they are unable to keep up getting patients scheduled in timely manner, we will start swabbing patients in office and sending the specimens to them. For now it has been timely and it has kept our staff more safe (at least perceived more safe, debatable). Still waiting for that perfect test that we can run ourselves in the office and result ourselves.

So question for those doing swabs in house: (granted we will be looking at strep, flu, and covid as same need for same PPE policy and procedure)
Do you have a designated testing room (we do not have a negative pressure room)?
Do you test in whatever exam room the patient was roomed into?
Do you test outside of your office in the parking lot/tent? Winter is coming and this may become more difficult.

Each testing location has it’s pros and cons, and each of our providers has their own preference, so looking for any feedback and thoughts.

Thanks and excited to see 2 vaccines are on track to turn this thing around.

Hi Bill!

We have been fortunate enough to have an office space open up in the lobby of our building. Our landlord has been letting us use that space for a minimal fee. We used it for our flu clinics since there is a separate entrance and exit. We’re now using it to see any possible sick patients. The problem is only 1 of our 3 physicians is willing to see patients there so our slots are pretty limited.

We also do not have any negative pressure rooms. I’m not sure that there would be any privately owned, or even hospital-owned, peds practices that would have that. We also do not have any windows that open in our building so ventilation is basically non-existent! If we lose access to that lobby space, we’ve talked about using only one room to see the sick patients in. We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it.

For patients that simply want testing and don’t need to be examined we are doing testing in the cars. We have the patient/parent self-administer after a telehealth visit with one of the physicians. Then a staff member goes down to the car and supervises them as they complete the test. This has been working great for us and our patients with a 24-36 hour turn around time with LabCorp UNTIL this week when they decreased the amount of test kits they would give us and recommended that we only test symptomatic patients due to the surge of cases.We will probably continue this through the winter even though we are in the North East (brrrr).

We also went back and forth with rapid testing for COVID (Abbott) and I made the decision after a lot of research that it just wasn’t worth it. Parents seem to be ok with the 1-2 day turnaround time for sending it out to a lab and I think by next year there will be a rapid test similar to our flu and strep.

Fingers crossed for this vaccine! Although I will admit, after working through the nightmare of the H1N1 vaccine, I’m sort of happy that it won’t roll out to peds first. When the government handles things it’s usually a little messy. I’ll be happy to take it in the 3rd or 4th round!

Feels like there isn’t a light at the end of this tunnel yet, but I’m hoping by March of next year we see it. Hang in there everyone!