CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WNCT) — Onboard Camp Lejeune, they recently unveiled a new COVID-19 testing system to help decrease longer than usual wait times.
The Acute Respiratory Clinic (ARC) opened outside of Naval Medical Center 19 months ago, and they say over the past month, they have had a significant increase in testing demand.
“Our numbers have greatly increased, and we’ve got summer travel summer, the moving from one installation to another, deployments, getting people back to work, health care workers, get tested more often to make sure that they’re healthy and ready on the job,” said Navy Commander Robert Kimberling, the OIC of the COVID Acute Respiratory Clinic.
To meet this demand, they opened a second testing site on September 13, strictly for routine testing.
Routine testing can include tests needed for travel, pre-surgery and return to work and school.
The Acute Respiratory Clinic is for those experiencing symptoms to see a provider. It also provided this routine testing, and this made the lines so long they wrapped around the parking lot.
“What we did is we set up this tent separately so that people could come and just have a test only and not have to wait in the line for the patients that are requiring a provider to evaluate them first,” said Lieutenant Commander Stacey Swindells, the officer in charge of tent operations for COVID testing.
With this new system in place, Corpsman can test patients who need routine testing at a separate tent, alleviating those long lines. Swindells said it is going well so far.
“We recently have gotten our access out here so that we could do real-time testing. And that has been able to allow us to pull more patients out of the line at the arc and decrease their wait time over there,” said Swindells.
Swindells adds we are in a new era where you need to rule out COVID-19 first, so that makes the need for testing go up.
“Everybody’s being required to have these negative tests, even with minimal symptoms to be able to return to work in school,” said Swindells.