CMMC provides drive through respiratory symptom check

Thursday, March 26, 2020
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Ambulance Bay Garage Door No. 1 is available M-F from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for respiratory screening at the Central Montana Medical Center in Lewistown. Honk once for service and do not block the emergency room driveway. Photo courtesy of Miriam Campan

Restaurants are not the only businesses providing a drive-through to maintain social distancing. The Central Montana Medical Center (CMMC) in Lewistown, in an effort to meet the community’s needs and limit exposure through close contact, has a “contained” solution.

“We have a process in place to help with respiratory illness,” said ER Manager and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Cindy Birdwell.

She added, “We have set up an ambulance bay where patients can stay in their car while a nurse does an initial respiratory symptom screening. This screening includes a visual examination for evident symptoms, a vitals check (temperature, heart rate and breathing) and a quick personal history inventory.”

Assistant ER Manager Jake Heinecke said, “The car keeps the environment contained and keeps any respiratory illness off-campus.”

The ambulance bay evaluation is free and is available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. through 4 p.m.

“It is not a COVID-19 testing station, but it will help to rule out other viruses that could be presenting similar symptoms,” said Heinecke.

“Flu symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, and a temperature of 100.4 within the past 48 hours. If a patient falls short of one of the parameters they will be sent to an on-location site for a tele-med conference with a local hospital doctor,” said Birdwell.

She added, “Assistance for respiratory illness could include nebulizer treatments. Our providers will be able to do a tele-med via conference with a hospital doctor.”

Heinecke said, “We have the labs to rule out other respiratory illnesses and may swab you for influenza. The lab test can be completed within 24 hours for non-COVID-19 influenza.”

The drive through is free; however, bring an insurance card and identification should further testing be deemed necessary.

Heinecke added, “If you don’t fit the criteria you can get solid advice. Just because you come doesn’t mean you will get or have COVID-19.”

For more information on COVID-19 CMMC recommends contacting DPHHS coronavirus website or CDC.gov.

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