Coronavirus (COVID-19) Drive-Thru Testing Begins In Oklahoma

Wednesday, March 25th 2020, 1:52 pm
By: News 9

As the number of COVID-19 cases climb in Oklahoma, Governor Kevin Stitt ordered four mobile testing sites to open.

They will be located in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Kay County and Pittsburg County at various times and for different durations.

Organizers had about 48 hours to turn the McAlester Expo Center into a drive-through testing site for Wednesday.

They worry that short notice may be why so few people showed up to be tested.

Melissa Locke, an Oklahoma Department of Health district nurse manager said COVID-19 testing can be as quick as 10.

"You'd start it in the nostril and you push it back until you feel resistance," said Locke.

Locke said the state, city, area first responders and the Pittsburg County Health Department collaborated on today's drive-through testing.

"The most interesting thing I've learned is how quickly it kind of went to the next level, as far as we weren't seeing it in the United States at all, and now it's in all 50 states," said Locke.

Nurses in protective gear from head to toe screened each client to see who's qualified to be tested.

Qualifications include being at least 18 years old with a fever higher than 100.4° AND a cough or shortness of breath.

23 people were screened and of those, 16 were tested.

This site had 100 tests available and there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 so far in Pittsburg County.

Health Department Director Dr. Stacy Hardy said everyone's surprised at the small turnout

"I know that patients are very scared out there, and this is at least a place they can come to to get tested because, you know, testing had been so scarce," said Hardy.

Kevin Enloe with Pittsburg County Emergency Management said data from the sampling will be helpful for his office and many other first responders.

“Our Hope is through this event, we will get an idea of kind of what the community spread is kind of looking like in our county," said Enloe.

Organizers said they’re in discussion with the state on any possible future testing dates and what to do with leftover testing kits.