0915 COVID Clinic 1.jpg

Raegan Vaughan, right, said it is not unusual for her to be conducting tests on 20-30 samples at one time.

More than 200 area residents visited Elmore Community Hospital’s COVID-19 drive-thru testing clinic on Tuesday, Sept. 7.

Most mornings, vehicles spill out of the hospital’s parking lot and into the street as residents wait their turn to get their nose swabbed, said the hospital’s marketing director Heidi Smith.

The hospital’s drive-thru testing clinic opened on Aug. 31. On its first day open, 88 people were served. Since then, no less than 100 people have been served on each day of the clinic, which operates Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those coming to get tested need to have their driver’s license and insurance card with them.

0915 COVID Clinic 2.jpg

Elmore Community Hospital's marketing director Heidi Smith, left, demonstrates what happens when patients arrive at the hospital's drive-thru COVID testing site. Hospital employee Amanda Roberts swabs her nose.  

The testing site utilizes the rapid tests, and patients can expect to get their results back in 30 minutes to an hour depending on how busy the clinic is. Raegan Vaughan, who works at the testing clinic and actually performs the COVID tests on the nose swab samples, said it is not unusual for her to be conducting tests on 20-30 samples at one time.

“It is very fast paced, but it’s also rewarding when you can call to give people good news, or if they have it, give them tips on how to manage their symptoms,” said testing clinic worker Maddie Hughes.

Although the testing site has been busy, Amanda Roberts said the patients have been very understanding about having to wait their turn.

“We’ve had patients who have brought us snacks and lunch,” Roberts said. “They’ve been very pleasant.”

In August, Smith said Ivy Creek’s urgent care centers began experiencing increases in the number of people coming to get tested for COVID. Ivy Creek owns five health clinic and urgent cares in Elmore County.

“We opened the clinic to help take the pressure off of our clinics that have been overrun with COVID testing,” Smith said. “People are still going to urgent cares for illnesses and injuries unrelated to COVID, and those patients are having a hard time being seen by practitioners and are experiencing two to three hour wait times. Those urgent cares needed some relief.”

Elmore Community Hospital also offers the Moderna COVID vaccine and operates a COVID infusion clinic, which has also been very busy lately.