Getting Ready

Nurses from Mercy Hospital geared up in protective equipment to run the COVID-19 testing site run by Mercy Hospital Washington. The testing site opened Monday, March 23, at the Washington Fairgrounds. Anyone getting a test is required to be screened by calling 314-251-0500.  The site will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Missourian photographer had permission from Mercy Hospital to take photographs before testing began.  Missourian Photo.

Mercy Hospital Washington opened a COVID-19 testing center Monday at the Washington Fairgrounds.

Eric Eoloff, Mercy Hospital Washington president, said 33 people initially were screened and qualified for a test the first day. By the end of the day, 46 people had been tested.

Eoloff told The Missourian 50 people were scheduled for Tuesday.

No problems were reported during the first day.

“On behalf of the medical staff and all our co-workers, we very much appreciate the community’s support and prayers,” Eoloff said. “We’re doing everything possible to slow the spread of this virus in our community and keep patients and ourselves protected.”

Anyone getting a test is required to be screened by calling 314-251-0500. The site will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Eoloff said on Monday the line was “flooded” with calls, but “so few meet the symptom criteria to be tested.”

After calling the number, people are asked a series of questions and will be asked to describe their symptoms.

Anyone who qualifies for a test will be given a time slot to show up to the testing site. No one is allowed to show up to the testing site without first contacting Mercy.

Mercy is stressing that anyone seeking a test must first call before arriving.

People who could qualify include symptomatic patients with a fever of 100.4 or higher, people with respiratory concerns or anyone with similar pre-existing health conditions and people who have recently traveled to a high-risk area.

The test involves both a nasal or a throat swab. Those who get tested will be sent home and told to quarantine until the results are back.

The test kit will be placed in a fridge on the fairgrounds. Four times a day tests will be picked up and sent to a lab.

Results will take several days. Anyone who receives the test will be instructed to self-quarantine until the results are delivered.

No one will be turned away from the testing site due to cost, Mercy said.

Traffic management teams will greet patients and check registration. Nurses and medical professionals in protective gear will then do the testing.

Patients will pull in through the south gate and exit through the north gate. The rest of the fairgrounds will be locked.

Local police, including Franklin County Sheriff’s Office deputies, will be working the site. 

The goal of the center is to prevent sick patients from going to hospitals and medical offices and possibly infecting medical personnel and other patients.