On Monday, May 18, officials with Primary Care Centers of Eastern Kentucky announced that some changes were made to the facility's drive-through clinics, in the form of exam rooms being added to two of the three drive-through lanes. This addition, said PCCEK officials, will allow the organization to expand services such as injections and labs within the drive-through clinics. Although PCCEK has been offering free COVID-19 tests to the public via the drive-through clinics, representatives from the company said the testing has decreased a lot in the last couple of weeks.
Christie Herald, a nurse practitioner at PCCEK, said the clinics tested more than 700 individuals in the first two weeks of offering the free drive-through COVID-19 testing. On the first day, Herald said, they completed 188 tests, and after that they limited the amount to 150 tests per day. In the days following that, she said the testing amounts came close to the 150 test limit, but have since been lessening daily.
“The testing is down quite a bit now,” said Herald, claiming that PCCEK is now completing approximately 50-60 tests per day.
“I think part of it is because we've not had a major outbreak in this area. We've had some cases, but they've been isolated,” said Herald, explaining that because Perry County has not had the virus spread like other areas, people could be thinking it isn't as prevalent of an issue.
“I don't want people to get a false sense of complacency,” said Scott Lockard, public health director of the Kentucky River District Health Department. “We've been very fortunate to have as few cases as we've got right now. We want as many people as we can take advantage of that (testing).”
Many of the people who are coming in for testing are doing so because places are opening back up, said Herald, stating that most people want to get tested before visiting family or returning to church. Additionally, she said, many people are able to book surgical appointments now, and must be tested.
“A lot of what we're seeing now is pre-op testing, because any patient that is going to have any type of surgical procedure they have to be tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their surgery,” said Herald.
Herald said PCCEK continues to encourage people to use the free testing, because it is a quick test and can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by raising awareness of who has the virus.
“It's important to get tested, because we've had some patients who have been asymptomatic who tested positive,” said Herald. Last week, she said, PCCEK had three asymptomatic individuals test positive for COVID-19. Herald said the symptoms to monitor for include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. “A lot of people think it is allergies,” she said, adding that, because of the common symptoms, it is hard for people to know if they have the virus without testing.
The tests, said Herald, take approximately five minutes to complete, and are completed in the form of a nasal swab being inserted for 30 seconds on each side of the nostrils. PCCEK staff collect demographic and contact information during the testing.
Drive-through One is dedicated for well visits, including medication refills, injections, minimal lab work and similar services. This lane is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Drive-through Two is designated for sick visits, medication refills, minimal lab work and injections. This lane is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Drive-through Three is open for sick visits, medication refills, minimal lab work, injections and no cost COVID-19 testing. This lane is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
Traditional inside clinic visits, are open for well visits, lab services, radiology services and injections from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. FaceTime with PCCEK representatives and Healow options are available from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. on Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Sunday, and will be available for services such as well visits, medication refills and sick visits.
For questions, concerns, or to schedule an appointment, call, (606) 439-1300.