What getting tested for COVID-19 in St. Charles County looks like

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Alexis Montgomery

The drive-thru COVID-19 testing site located at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital on First Capitol Drive.

Alexis Montgomery, Editor-in-Chief

COVID-19 testing sites are currently available to people in Saint Charles County at five locations

As of Sept. 25, Saint Charles County COVID-19 cases have risen to more than 7,000 cases. Lindenwood University has reported 112 cases since the start of the semester, according to their Confirmed Cases website

Lindenwood recommends students get tested if they have two or more low-risk symptoms, or if they have at least one high-risk symptom but no known exposure. If students are knowingly exposed to COVID-19, then they are expected to quarantine and obtain a COVID-19 test if they develop symptoms, according to the Lindenwood Decision Flow for COVID-19.

SSM Health Medical Group in Saint Charles, one of the local COVID-19 testing sites located at 300 First Capitol Drive, is offering drive-thru testing for those who get virtually evaluated and make a virtual visit before getting tested. 

Chrison Sitton, manager of business operations for SSM Health Medical Group in St. Charles County, said the nurse practitioners conduct the virtual visits, put in an order for a COVID-19 test, and direct the patient to an SSM testing location.

Sitton also said that there is not a copay for the COVID-19 test, but medical insurance is collected during the virtual visit. 

“At our locations you pull up to a registration booth, present your photo ID and your insurance card, and they put you on the schedule,” Sitton said. “They verify your insurance, and then they send you up to the swabbing station to be swabbed, as long as you have an order in our system.”

Though each day varies, Sitton said SSM sees an average of about 40 patients a day who are tested. As for the turnaround time for results, it’s usually 24 to 48 hours. 

“All of our tests are being done at our micro lab currently here in St. Charles, and our average turnaround time is anywhere from 24 to 48 hours, depending on the volume that the lab gets,” Sitton said.

Patients are encouraged to sign up for MyChart, a website that accesses medical records, to view their test results. 

Overall, the process ranges from five to 10 minutes. 

“The testing is very easy. It is a very easy process for the patient to drive up, pull in, go to the registration site, and then pull up to the swabbing location,” Sitton said. “With the registration page added in, it probably takes a good five to ten minutes for the entire process. It doesn’t take long at all, they stay in their car the entire time.”

Although there has been recent controversy over the accuracy of COVID-19 testing, Greg Neunuebel, public relations consultant at SSM Health, is confident in SSM Health receiving accurate results. 

“We’re certainly confident in the ability of our lab to process these accurately,” Neunuebel said. “Of course, if there is any concern or skepticism on the part of the patient they can certainly speak with their primary care provider to just get that expert medical opinion, so that would probably be the best course of action.”

Total Access Urgent Care also has three COVID-19 testing locations in Saint Charles County, with the nearest located at 2138 First Capitol Drive. 

Walk-ins for testing are allowed at their locations, said Ryan Lynch, operations manager of Total Access Urgent care at First Capitol Drive.

“The process is relatively easy. You come in and get registered by one of our team members, you see a provider and have a one on one visit with one of our providers to make sure that your medical history is okay and the symptoms or exposure timelines match up so the test is administered at the appropriate time for you,” Lynch said. “Then they will swab you there, and we have the option to essentially send it out to Quest for about a 48-hour turnaround time.”

Another option patients can choose is to have a virtual visit, where patients input their demographic and insurance information online to be matched with a health provider to do an evaluation. 

“After that they can just come and they’ll have a swab scheduled at any of our centers and they can go in and essentially just get swabbed, so it’s a little bit of a shorter amount of time that they have to be in the center,” Lynch said.

Patients also have the option to get tested for COVID-19 by getting a PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) test at drive-thru testing locations. 

“At our Cottleville location, we do have drive up options where patients don’t even have to get out of their car if they’ve done a virtual visit,” Lynch said. “Our team will come outside and swab them from their vehicle and then send the swab out in the same manner.”

Lynch said through the CARES Act, many insurance companies are covering the cost of COVID-19 tests so patients don’t have to pay a copay. If patients don’t have insurance, they may pay a self-pay rate of $125.

The turnaround time of the COVID-19 results are usually 24 to 48 hours. 

“To be honest, our turnaround times as of now are anywhere from 24 to 48 hours,” Lynch said. “I know that the tests we sent in yesterday have already been resulted this morning.

“It’s pretty routine that our turnaround times are 24 hours, but it’s something that kind of depends on Quest and their backlog, but right now we can essentially say that all tests are resorted within 72 hours but typically a lot sooner than that.”

Total Access Urgent Care has recently seen an influx of college-age patients getting tested for COVID-19, Lynch said. 

“I think that there has been [an influx] since school started up again. And to be honest, we do have some options for larger schools in general,” Lynch said. “We’re testing a lot of sports teams. We’re providing rapid tests actually for a lot of employers and sports teams in the community. 

“So I think there has been an influx of patients under 30 that are coming in to get tested. But I would have to look at the numbers and averages to really tell you how big of an increase it is and when it started.”

 

COVID-19 testing sites in Saint Charles:

SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital

Location: 300 First Capitol Drive, Saint Charles, MO 63301

Appointment: Patients should do a virtual visit to be scheduled for a COVID-19 test.

Drive-thru: This location is a drive-thru. 

Phone: (636) 947-5000

 

Total Access Urgent Care on First Capitol Drive

Location: 2138 First Capitol Drive, Saint Charles, MO 63301

Appointment: Walk-ins are welcome. Virtual visits are available.

Drive-thru: Drive-thru testing is not available at this location.

Phone: (636) 534-4498

 

Total Access Urgent Care on Mexico Road

Location: 3871 Mexico Road, St. Charles, MO 63303

Appointment: Walk-ins are welcome. Virtual visits are available.

Drive-thru: Drive-thru testing is not available at this location.

Phone: (636) 477-6344

 

Mercy-Go Health Urgent Care

Location: 2031 Zumbehl Road MO, St. Charles, MO 63303

Appointment: A virtual or in-person screening is required before taking a COVID-19 test.

Drive-thru: Drive-thru testing.

Phone: (636)-206-2690

 

Walmart on Veterans Memorial Parkway

Location: 2897 Veterans Memorial Parkway

Appointment: An appointment is required before obtaining a COVID-19 test.

Drive-thru: Drive-thru testing is not available at this site. 

Phone: (800) 635-8611

To locate a COVID-19 testing site near you, you can use the Anthem COVID-19 testing site locator.