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Saint Luke's opens COVID-19 testing sites to first responders

COVID-19 coronavirus specimen collection.png
Posted at 10:38 AM, Apr 02, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Saint Luke’s Health System will open all of its drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites to first responders in the Kansas City metro.

The health system said Thursday that the testing will be available to any first responder — including police officers, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs — who meets certain criteria for testing.

In a news release, Saint Luke’s said the lack of access to testing and the delay in getting results has “placed pressure on these public safety organizations as they manage increasing staffing shortages” due to the 14-day quarantine requirement for anyone showing symptoms.

To be tested, first responders must meet this criteria, including one or more symptoms:

  • Fever of 100 degrees or higher;
  • New cough within last 14 days;
  • Shortness of breath; and

One or more of the following risk factors:

  • Exposure to or contact with someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days;
  • Immunosuppressed;
  • Pregnant;
  • Health care worker/first responder.

First responders who meet the criteria and want to be tested should obtain a referral through their human resources department. They must show a referral form, badge and personal identification to be tested.

“When you think of essential personnel, first responders are certainly at the top of that list,” said Dr. Marc Larsen, 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.”

Saint Luke’s said its Regional Lab is currently processing the majority of COVID-19 tests on-site during the day. Some testing results are available within four hours.

Saint Luke’s launched three drive-thru testing sites for employees and patients two weeks ago.

A number of first responders in the Kansas City metro have tested positive for COVID-19. On Wednesday, the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department announced that two of its employees had tested positive and another 16 were under quarantine.