Drive-Through Respiratory Specimen Collection Site For COVID-19

Last Updated: 3/18/2020 3:45 p.m.

As an extension of MUSC Health Virtual Urgent Care online platform, patients who need specimen collection for possible respiratory illness or “COVID-19-like” symptom screening will now have access to the MUSC Health Florence Medical Center’s drive-through respiratory specimen collection site. The drive-through site is located at Doctors Care urgent care, 2200 South Irby Street in Florence. Due to pandemics requiring close coordination on a local level, Doctors Care closed one of its Florence centers for the purpose of offering the property to MUSC Health as a collection site, understanding the logistical challenge of erecting such a site in the region on short notice. The Doctors Care center located on Hoffmeyer Road in Florence remains open for its usual services.

Those patients with specimen collection orders and a scheduled appointment will need to follow directional signage for entry into the secured site in the parking lot of Doctors Care’s South Irby location. MUSC Health staff, wearing appropriate CDC-recommended personal protective equipment, will quickly collect specimens from only those patients who have testing orders to be screened as “high risk” for respiratory illness, including possible exposure to COVID-19.

An ongoing major concern for health care providers remains exposing vulnerable or noninfected patients to those patients who do have the virus and arrive to seek care in clinics, waiting rooms, hospitals and other such areas. To date, most patients will experience mild to moderate illness while treating viral symptoms and recover within a week from the onset of symptoms. These patients can be triaged through the online platform, receive lab orders and scheduled appointments to report to the site and complete specimen collection without having to leave their vehicles and possibly exposing others to the virus.

On March 7, MUSC Health launched access to free respiratory illness screenings using its virtual urgent care telehealth platform. Using the promo code (COVID19), patients can engage in a free online health care screening. There are no age restrictions on who can be screened, meaning both adult and pediatric patients can be screened through the online platform.

Although online screening is free, it is important to note that specimen collection available at the drive-through site and subsequent laboratory processing will be billed to patients’ insurance providers or considered self-pay. As always, patients can access the MUSC Health financial assistance team if they encounter difficulties or barriers to payment. Patients will receive information about collection and testing procedures when they schedule their appointment, prior to their arrival at the collection site.

“As a healthcare provider with one of the largest footprints in the state, Doctors Care recognized an opportunity where we could expeditiously assist MUSC Health with a critical point of patient testing access,” said Dr. Curtis Franke, president of Doctors Care. “We must work together during times like this, and this was a meaningful way in which we could immediately support the Florence community and the very critical efforts underway at MUSC Health to counter the emerging coronavirus threat.”

It is important to note: This is not a self-select drive-through or walk-up service for anyone in the community who has a health concern; individuals who report to the site for specimen collection, but do not have a specimen collection order and scheduled appointment through the MUSC Health Virtual Urgent Care platform, will not be allowed to enter the secure site.

“We appreciate Doctors Care, in affiliation with MUSC Health, partnering with MUSC Health Florence Medical Center to keep our communities healthy and safe during this challenging time,” said Vance Reynolds, chief executive officer, MUSC Health Florence and Marion Medical Centers.