Brian e-mails: Does Winneshiek Medical Center have enough tests kits for coronavirus?"
The Answer Person says: "Let's set the record straight. If someone believes they might have contracted coronavirus, they can call Winneshiek Medical Center and set up an appointment to come in and be tested. Hospital workers will take a specimen collection with materials they have on hand that are in plentiful supply. That specimen is then sent to the testing labs associated with the Iowa Department of Public Health.
The "kits" reported to be in short supply are those at the diagnostic labs in the state, not the specimen collection materials at hospitals like WMC. However, there are adequate kits at the state level now.
WMC is following recommendations from the Iowa Department of Public Health and the CDC. Health care providers will order COVID-19 testing according to specific clinical and epidemiological criteria.Testing is not currently available by having a patient directly contact the medical center--they must first contact their health care provider and that provider must issue an order so that the patient can be tested.
Winneshiek Medical Center asks patients with respiratory illness symptoms (cough, fever) to call 563-382-2911 before they come to an appointment, Urgent Care or the Emergency Department, so staff can guide them appropriately.
For general information on coronavirus, follow the Iowa Department of Public Health website at: https://idph.iowa.gov/