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updated: 3/18/2020 9:49 PM

Advocate Lutheran General now running limited COVID-19 drive-through tests

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  • Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge is now one of two hospitals in the suburbs testing ill people with referrals for the COVID-19 virus. The second is Advocate Good Shepard Hospital in Lake Barrington.

    Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge is now one of two hospitals in the suburbs testing ill people with referrals for the COVID-19 virus. The second is Advocate Good Shepard Hospital in Lake Barrington.
    Daily Herald File Photo

 
 

Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge is now offering drive-through COVID-19 tests, officials said Wednesday.

Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital near Lake Barrington piloted the service earlier this month, but it's not for the general public.

Anyone who is ill and thinks he or she may have the disease must obtain a test authorization from a doctor. Not everyone will fit the criteria, doctors said, and the Daily Herald has reported that some people seeking tests were refused because they did not visit foreign coronavirus hot spots or mingle with those with confirmed cases.

"These are not drive-up windows like going into a fast-food restaurant," Advocate Lutheran Director of Infectious Diseases Robert Citronberg said.

"It's not designed to test what we call the 'worried well.' That's not who we want tested. We want people to be tested who are sick."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says triggers for a test can include "fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing."

For more information about testing and virtual visits, Advocate has a hotline at (866) 443-2584 and resource center on its website.

At a time when many health care providers are concerned about supplies of face masks or other personal protective equipment, Lutheran General is not at "critically low levels," Citronberg said.

"But we could be if there's a huge surge in the number of patients," he added. "We are hopeful the supply chain will improve.'

Administrators are trying to maximize supplies by limiting staff members who attend to infectious patients, reusing some respirator and looking to group COVID-19 patients in one unit, for example.

Citronberg also urged people to heed warnings about social distancing and keep a 6-foot distance from others when outside the home.

That means parents should say "no" to sleepovers, playdates and parties involving guests outside the immediate family for the near future, he said.