Monday marked the opening of Gritman Medical Center’s new COVID-19 drive-through testing site on Jackson Street, southwest of Gritman in its overflow parking lot.
Peter Mundt, Gritman director of community relations and marketing, said in a text message that the first day at the new site ran smoothly aside from a “few first-day transition technical” hiccups.
“At this point in the pandemic, our testing team has the process down to a science,” he wrote.
Mundt said Gritman collected around 85 to 90 COVID-19 samples per day at the former drive-through testing site — Gritman’s Martin Wellness Center on the south end of town — and expected that to continue Monday at the new site.
Mundt said last week the new site will operate 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekend.
The new site will collect test samples for COVID-19, strep throat and influenza because all three can have similar symptoms, Mundt said. He said the patient’s doctor will determine which disease the patient will be tested for but he expects most test orders will be for all three to rule out illnesses.
Mundt said drivers will enter the site on Jackson Street. Awnings will be set up for drivers to pull under and nurses will collect samples from drivers while they are in their vehicle. Drivers will then exit back onto Jackson Street. Signs will be posted to direct drivers to and from the site.
Patients must have a physician’s order to be tested at the drive-through site, and must present an insurance card if the patient has insurance and photo identification at the site.
Mundt said Gritman asks patients to allow at least three days for test results to be posted. Patients can access their results online using the Gritman patient portal. Their primary care provider will also have the results.
Meanwhile, more than 70 new cases of COVID-19 were reported over the weekend and Monday on the Palouse.
Whitman County received 44 positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the county total to 2,473, according to a Whitman County Public Health news release.
Two people are hospitalized with the virus and all other infected people are stable and self-isolating. Twenty-two people have died from the virus in the county.
Of the 44 new cases, six are younger than 20 years old, 20 are in the 20-39 age range, nine are 40-59, six are 60-79 and three are 80 or older.
During the past two weeks, 226 people in Whitman County have tested positive: 140 in Pullman; 36 are in Colfax; 12 in Colton; six each in Oakesdale, Tekoa and Uniontown; five in Garfield; three each in Palouse and LaCrosse; two each in Rosalia, Endicott and Albion; and one each in Farmington, Malden and an unincorporated part of the county.
In Latah County, Public Health – Idaho North Central District reported 28 cases during the weekend and Monday, increasing the county total to 1,752 confirmed cases. Of the total confirmed cases, 1,187 recovered and three died.
Of the 28 new cases, one is a girl younger than 1 years old, one girl is in the 13-17 age range, nine people are 18-29, two are in their 30s, five are in their 40s, two are in their 50s, two are in their 60s, three are in their 70s and three are in their 80s.