Memorial Health System opened a drive through respiratory screening clinic in Springfield Monday. It’s part of an effort to reduce any COVID-19-related stress on local emergency rooms.
The clinic, at 2950 S. Sixth St., expands Memorial’s capacity for examining people who believe they have coronavirus disease. Anyone can request a screening, but officials said the clinic will provide COVID-19 testing only for those who meet the Illinois’ Department of Public Health’s criteria.
That includes people who’ve returned from a country with a significant rate of infection such as China or Italy and those who’ve been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Patients must call a special hotline number, (217) 588-4019, to make an appointment, then drive to an assigned parking spot at the clinic. Medical staff will then meet patients in their car and determine what care they need.
Jay Roszhart is the President of Memorial’s Ambulatory Group. He said it’s likely healthcare systems throughout the state will see a large increase in patients who need care.
“What we’re trying to do is ensure that those who can be triaged and safely treated in the community and safely treated in their homes … get the treatment they need to be able to do that,” Roszhart said.
Roszhart said the screenings are free, and argued it’s better to screen people right in their cars than to stress hospital emergency rooms or doctor’s offices with extra patients.
We can take people who are having fever and respiratory symptoms that they would normally call their doctor about or normally go to an urgent care or express care facility about.”
Roszhart expects other local healthcare providers, like Hospital Sisters Health System and Springfield Clinic, may soon set up their own drive-through screening centers.