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Saint Luke's News: Saint Luke’s Expands COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing to All First Responders

April 2, 2020

Saint Luke’s Health System is pleased to announce that it is expanding drive-through testing of COVID-19 to all first responders within the region who meet testing criteria.

First responders include police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs, all of whom are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 as they carry out the regular duties of their jobs.

The lack of access to testing, coupled with the delay in obtaining results for those who do get tested, have placed pressure on these public safety organizations as they manage increasing staffing shortages driven by the need for those who exhibit COVID-like symptoms to self-isolate for 14 days.

Saint Luke’s Regional Lab is currently processing the majority of COVID-19 tests on-site in regular runs throughout the day. This allows for much faster testing results, some as soon as within four hours.

“When you think of essential personnel, first responders are certainly at the top of that list,” said Marc Larsen, MD, Saint Luke’s Incident Command Operations Chief.

“It’s critical right now that we all do our part to get through this together. By serving the community in our way—by providing these tests—we’re helping our first responders get back to serving the community in their way. And that’s good news for our community overall.”

To be tested, first responders must meet the criteria for testing, including having one or more of the following new symptoms:

  • Fever of 100 degrees or higher
  • New cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches

First responders who meet the criteria listed above should work directly with their human resources departments to obtain a referral for a drive-through test at any of the three Saint Luke’s locations in the metro. A referral form, badge, and personal identification will be required at the testing site.

“Our job is to protect and serve the public, but we also need to protect ourselves and each other,” said Ryan Jacobsen, MD, Johnson County EMS System Medical Director. “These are very trying times and we’re thankful Saint Luke’s has provided us another avenue to get testing for our first responder community.”

Public safety departments interested in learning more about coordinating testing through Saint Luke’s, please contact Anna Sahli at asahli@saintlukeskc.org.

Find more information on COVID-19 and Saint Luke’s Response.

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