COVID Rapid Testing and State Testing criteria at Veterans Memorial Hospital


COVID-19 testing at VMH ... Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon offers a COVID-19 Phone Line for triage every Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Anyone with questions about COVID-19 is encouraged to call the hospital at 563-568-3411 during those hours and request the COVID line to speak one-on-one to a nurse about symptoms and testing options. Those that do qualify for a COVID-19 test are asked to attend the drive-by screenings which are held outside the hospital, along Main Street in the upper level parking lot, as pictured above. Again, testing must be arranged first by calling the COVID Phone Line. Submitted photo.

Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon offers a COVID-19 Phone Line for triage every Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Anyone with questions about COVID-19 is encouraged to call the hospital at 563-568-3411 during those hours and request the COVID line to speak one-on-one to a nurse about symptoms and testing options. The nurse then triages the caller based on the wide variety of information that is collected during the visit.

Those who do qualify for a COVID-19 test are asked to attend the drive-by screenings which are held outside of the hospital, along Main Street in the upper level parking lot (location of the former Mayo Clinic).  These screenings are held Monday through Friday, but again testing must first be arranged by calling the COVID Phone Line.
Veterans Memorial Hospital offers two types of COVID-19 tests: a rapid test and a State test. Waukon is one of the cities in Iowa that received the Abbott ID Now instrument for rapid COVID-19 testing from the State of Iowa. This machine’s main purpose is for testing in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and residential care facilities within a 30-mile radius of Waukon, but can be used in other cases if the patient meets the criteria for rapid testing.

Those wanting to be tested must meet certain criteria to qualify for a rapid test.  Those that do not qualify for a rapid test, then have their specimen sent to the State of Iowa laboratory. Due to the high demand, the State results do take up to three to four days to receive.

“We have developed tiers for COVID testing at Veterans Memorial Hospital, similar to the testing tiers of Gundersen in La Crosse, so we can decide if a patient qualifies for a rapid test or not,” states Beth Fitzpatrick, Laboratory Supervisor at Veterans Memorial Hospital. “In order to run a rapid test, we must have the reagent on hand, and that is supplied by FEMA. We must follow the established criteria so that a symptomatic patient in a high risk group, an asymptomatic person who is having a medical procedure, or a resident in long-term care facilities that is symptomatic has access to testing that can be performed rapidly. If we performed a rapid test on everyone, we would be out of the reagent in no time and be unable to rapidly test those most at risk.”

Those callers who don’t meet the criteria for either test, such as those who just want to be tested out of curiosity or who will be traveling internationally, will be referred to a Test Iowa site for collection and testing. This usually includes an asymptomatic, nonessential worker with no close contact to a positive COVID patient. Anyone in this situation must go to www.testiowa.com to go through a questionnaire to see if they meet the criteria.

For more information on COVID testing at Veterans Memorial Hospital, call the COVID-19 Phone Line at 563-568-3411 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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