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Las Vegas urgent care stops drive-through coronavirus testing

Updated March 20, 2020 - 7:08 pm

A Las Vegas urgent care clinic has stopped providing drive-thru COVID-19 testing without an appointment.

Sahara West Urgent Care & Wellness offered three days of drive-thru testing this week but stopped the service Wednesday, practice manager Jose Triana told the Review-Journal on Friday.

“I just don’t have the manpower right now to do it,” he said, noting that his staff was overwhelmed by the demand for the tests.

Instead, the clinic is asking those who have symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking testing to first email the clinic at info@saharawesturgentcare.com to schedule an appointment. It’s an encrypted email address, meaning there are extra security measures to ensure health information remains confidential.

The clinic will respond to those emails and schedule telemedicine appointments with patients, Triana said. After the remote interview, a medical provider will come to a patient’s car and collect a specimen for testing.

Long waits for testing

During the three days of drive-thru testing, the clinic saw long lines of cars, with many patients waiting for hours.

Triana said the clinic tested more than 700 people — including “a lot more than 250” on the first day alone.

“It’s a madhouse right now,” he said Friday. “We’re trying to get caught up.”

Clinic staff members are telling patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 “as soon as we can,” he said. For those who test negative, they’re notifying patients as well — “as we can get to them.”

The clinic experienced some issues with testing, and some customers had to return for a second swab.

Las Vegas resident Roshie Raissi was tested Sunday for COVID-19 at the Sahara West clinic. She returned Monday for a retest after calling the clinic and expressing concerns about whether the first test was properly administered.

Raissi told the Review-Journal on Friday that she was told she would receive test results in 48 hours. That didn’t happen.

She called the clinic Wednesday and couldn’t get through. She tried again for a couple of days after that. The clinic’s voicemail box was full.

On Friday, she called Clinical Pathology Laboratories, which is where her COVID-19 test was sent. She was told her test results had been put in the computer system Thursday and were sent to the clinic.

Raissi said the lab told her results would have to come from the clinic or she could sign up for the lab’s online patient portal, but it would take three to five business days to get the results.

The lab also presented her with third option: She could come to one of their offices with identification and there was a possibility they could print the results, Raissi said.

She put on a mask and gloves and headed to the lab at the Summerlin Hospital campus. She said the lab was accessible through a side door — not the main hospital entrance — and she stayed clear of other people.

A receptionist at the lab printed her results: negative for COVID-19.

Southwest Medical testing

Southwest Medical is offering curbside COVID-19 testing at three valley locations but only for Southwest Medical patients who have been ordered by their medical provider to be tested. The service is unavailable to the public.

Southwest Medical started offering testing about two weeks ago, said James Stover, a spokesman for the medical group. He said he doesn’t know how many people have been tested.

The three sites are the following:

— Lake Mead Convenient Care, 310 W. Lake Mead Parkway in Henderson, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

— Convenient Care at Flamingo Healthcare Center, 5580 W. Flamingo Road, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

— Craig Convenient Care, 4090 W. Craig Road in North Las Vegas, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.

Southwest Medical said all patients must call 702-877-5199 to start the process of being evaluated for testing.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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