Kirby Medical Center and The Kirby Foundation to Offer Free Expedited COVID Testing for School Students and Faculty

Kirby Medical Center and The Kirby Foundation are partnering with Monticello, Bement, Deland-Weldon, Cerro Gordo, Argenta-Oreana, and Atwood-Hammond-Arthur-Lovington schools to provide free and expedited COVID-19 testing for students or faculty that have symptoms triggering a quarantine. The goal is to process the results in 24 hours or less and reduce the amount of unnecessary quarantine. Michelle Gross, chair of The Kirby Foundation says, “The Kirby Foundation is excited and proud to fund the cost of this program. ‘Making Piatt County a healthier place to live’ is core to the vision statement of Kirby Medical Center and the Kirby Foundation and we can’t think of a better way to support that vision.” The hospital intends to make the program available starting October 12th and is coordinating the process with the various schools regarding the process and information to be reported back to the schools.

“Keeping the students in school and the teachers available to teach benefits everyone”, says Kirby Medical Center CEO Steve Tenhouse, “We are glad to finally have the technology available to make this possible and thankful for The Kirby Foundation’s funding of the purchase.”

Students and faculty can pick up a form from any of the four school offices in the district to fill out and take to get tested at one of the three testing locations: Atwood, Cerro Gordo, and Monticello. The school will receive the results by 7:00 pm on the same day of testing.

Second DCHD Location Means More COVID Testing Opportunities

By Colleen Lehmann, DCHD Public Health Liaison

(Released 10/14/20)

A second office location for Douglas County Health Department at Tuscola Outlet Mall means now it’s easier and more convenient than ever to be tested for COVID-19.

With the move to J600—between Old Navy and Vanity Fair—having officially taken place on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, DCHD will now be conducting COVID testing by appointment four days a week instead of one. Previously, Tuesday was the only day you could get a test at the DCHD main location at 1250 U.S. Highway 36. All COVID testing will now be done by appointment at J600, Mondays-Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Process:

To make your appointment for a drive-up test, call the DCHD COVID-19 Hotline 1-801-997-0019 and press 1. A DCHD staff member will ask you a few questions before giving you an appointment time for your drive-up, no-contact test. Be sure to bring a mask or other face covering, ID card, and insurance or Medicaid card with you. Your insurance company will be billed by Carle lab, but if you are uninsured, grant funding (as long as it’s available) will cover the cost of testing. 

You will drive up to the designated parking spot directly in front of J600 and call the office again to announce your arrival. A DCHD staffer will come out to your vehicle and, after getting brief paperwork signed, hand you a sterile nasal swab so you can self-collect your sample. If the patient is a child and the parent does not feel comfortable collecting the sample, the DCHD staffer will do the honors. The same holds true for any adults not wanting to do their own swab.

Once the swab is completed, DCHD will carefully contain the sample and deliver to a collection site for processing. Results are typically made available to DCHD in 24 to 48 hours, but be aware the patient sometimes receives results before the health department is notified. DCHD will notify patients of their results once known, along with any additional instructions needed in the event of a positive test outcome.

Why Two Locations?

Why a second DCHD location, and why only for a temporary time? Thank—or perhaps more accurately, blame—the coronavirus pandemic for that. Grant monies became available for health departments to deal with the burgeoning challenge of COVID-19 response. Setting up a temporary extension office allows DCHD to offer increased testing, and house additional staff hired for COVID-related activities, including contact tracers and public health liaisons.

Another advantage of a second location is that if, in the unfortunate event a COVID outbreak were to happen at one office, there would be unaffected staff at the other site to keep DCHD operations running smoothly. To that end, there is some nursing staff, an administrator, and IT person also housed at the J600 location. The original site at 1250 E. Highway 36 is still home to the dental clinic, WIC, nursing staff, environmental health, emergency preparedness, and outreach coordination. That office phone number remains 217-253-4137.