Vidant Health COVID-19 drive-thru site hits testing milestone

Coronavirus

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – This week marked 110,000 COVID-19 tests administered at the drive-thru site off Stantonsburg Road in Greenville.

Vidant Health officials said they don’t see the flow slowing down any time soon.

“We still do well over 2,000 tests a day throughout our health system,” said Dr. Dave Harlow, vice president of Operations of Allied Health. “We do over 600 right here a day on average, and what that tells us is COVID is still endemic in the population and we still have a challenge.”

The drive-thru testing site is one of Vidant’s 13 testing sites across its health system. This particular one is for asymptomatic testing, which is why Harlow predicts they’ll continue to see high numbers of testing for surveillance purposes.

“We are going to do testing for eventualities,” Harlow said. “We will test people who want to travel, especially overseas. A lot of employers and governmental agencies require people that have not been vaccinated to get periodic testing. That is something that didn’t exist about six months ago, and that’s been added to the portfolio of testing we do.”

(Erin Jenkins, WNCT photo)

While there is a steady number of people getting tested outside every day, Harlow said the situation on the inside of the hospital is similar.

“(Thursday) we had something like 170 patients in our system that were COVID positive and in the hospital,” he said.

This 100,000 testing milestone isn’t something Harlow expected a year ago when they opened the site in October. He said the milestone is about celebrating the hard work of frontline healthcare workers.

“This isn’t a really popular place to have to work, it is a COVID unit by definition,” Harlow said. “About one in seven people who come through this line test positive, so you know if you work in this line, you will be exposed to COVID.”

The testing center is a testament to those workers.

“It represents a commitment of those that work here because you will recognize, this is very unusual in terms of healthcare,” Harlow said. “You don’t generally provide healthcare in a parking lot unless its under duress and these guys have been here.”

As long as the pandemic is around, Harlow said there will be a need for testing, so they plan to stay open to provide this service for people in the community. The drive-thru is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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