COVID-19 Drive-Through Rapid Testing at Thumb Butte Medical Center
COVID-19 Virus and Antibody Tests Are Available
Thumb Butte Medical Center is now providing drive-through rapid coronavirus antibody testing to the public at its Prescott location, 3124 Willow Creek Road.
The tests are available from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and results come back in approximately 15 minutes. The cost is $100 for those paying cash, but the tests are being covered by most insurers. You do not need to be an established patient at TBMC or have symptoms of COVID-19 to be tested.
"For the past few months, everyone has been requesting testing,” said Dr. Hojat Askari, the clinic’s medical director. Finally, after months of hard work and reaching out to numerous people, we finally found the rapid testing which takes 15 minutes in the drive-through."
TBMC became the first Prescott-area provider to offer the drive-through antibody tests on Thursday, April 23.
TBMC is covering the cost for first responders from local police and fire departments and the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, serving more than 300 of them as of April 28.
Nationwide, health care providers have been able to offer the antibody tests since they received approval by the Food and Drug Administration in March. The lab tests can detect whether the patient is or has been infected by SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. The provider administering it uses a needle to collect a drop of blood from the patient’s fingertip.
"We are proud to be the first drive-through clinic in Prescott to offer this to our community,” Dr. Askari said.
Antibody Test Results There are three possible findings from the rapid antibody test. A “negative” result indicates a person has not been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is not transmitting it and has no immunity to it. A positive result can either mean the person has an active COVID-19 infection or has been exposed but isn’t currently infected, depending on which antibodies are found through the blood sample.
Those who get one of the positive results are referred for a nasal or throat swab test to confirm their COVID-19 status, as well as those who get a negative result but are reporting potential COVID symptoms.
These include fever, cough, severe shortness of breath and the six additional warning signs announced last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control:
Repeated shaking with chills
Loss of taste or smell
Due to the demand, there could well be a wait before being tested, ranging from about 10 minutes at 7 a.m. to upwards of 30 minutes around noon.
In-Office COVID-19 Testing
Thumb Butte Medical Center also has in-office COVID-19 testing at all three of its locations; the other two are in Prescott Valley at 6496 E. Highway 69 and Chino Valley at 87 South Route 89. These are nasal swab tests, with results usually coming back in 24 to 48 hours.
Dr. Askari has ordered a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) diagnostic machine to conduct these tests more quickly, and hopes it will arrive in the next week or two. This could cut the wait for those results down to 45 minutes.
For more information, visit thumbbuttemedicalcenter.com or call 928-445-7085.