DE QUEEN, Ark. — Lansdell Family Clinic employees and volunteers stayed busy Wednesday as Sevier County residents took advantage of drive-up screening and testing for COVID-19.
"We have had a couple hundred already. We started early because there were cars lined up and waiting this morning," said Lansdell Family Clinic Operations Manager Mick Martin.
Martin said the drive-up clinic was equipped with 2,000 tests.
"We brought plenty just to be sure. We are doing this to help the community. We need more testing to see how many in the community might have the virus," Martin said.
Lansdell Clinic organized the event at the former De Queen Medical Center, 1306 W. Collin Raye Drive(U.S. Highway 70) in De Queen.
Health care workers wearing personal protective equipment — face masks, gowns, gloves, head coverings and in some cases full anti-contamination suits — screened and tested people, who are able to stay in their cars the entire time.
Lines of vehicles were split between those with symptoms and those who think they may have been exposed but have not shown any symptoms.
"Getting a good number of how many people we have sick will help the community," Martin said.
Natural State Laboratories in Little Rock will analyze the test samples and return results in approximately three days, Martin said.
Organizers set up the process to minimize health care providers' contact with potentially infected patients.
Those who asked to be tested provide photo IDs and insurance cards, which health care workers place in plastic bags before photocopying them. Test recipients answer questions on forms handed to them on clipboards through their vehicles' windows, each using a separate pen. All documents are kept outside vehicles, placed on their windshields as they move from station to station.
Drivers are asked if they have had any exposure to the virus or symptoms of COVID-19, the illness it causes. Anyone with symptoms — such as coughing, fever or shortness of breath — is tested for flu and other illnesses to rule them out
In March, Sevier County became the first county in Southwest Arkansas to have a positive case. That number has since risen to six positive cases as of Wednesday, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
ADH breaks down cases on its website by age and gender but the numbers are for the entire state, said Danyelle McNeill, public information officer for ADH.
"We are not able to share that information by county," she said.
Martin said he expected a large number of Pilgrim's Pride poultry plant employees after the plant's shift change.
The plant sent a letter to employees on March 30 that said an employee had tested positive for COVID-19 But had not been at the plant for several days.