The Community Health Inc. clinic created its own drive through spot behind its facility at 2805 Overseas Highway in Marathon on Saturday, March 28. About 60 Monroe County residents phoned in or emailed to be screened by clinic workers. Of those, 20 were granted appointments to be tested. 

Drivers entered at 28th Street, holding up a drivers’ license. CHI nurses approached the window, wrote down their contact and vital information and performed a swab. At 11:30 a.m. there was no waiting, and the whole process took about three minutes for each car.

“We are going to be doing this every Saturday,” said CHI nurse Tera Barnes. “I don’t know how long; we need to gauge community interest.”

Barnes said the pre-screening — Keys residents can call or email, see below — ensures no one gets missed. 

“It keeps things a little more organized,” she said.

So far, the non-profit organization has screened more than 1,650 people and tested more than 420 in Miami and the Keys. According to a CHI spokesperson, 19 have tested positive as of March 25, 2020 — but there was no breakdown of how many of those were Keys patients. Patients with positive test results have received a call from the CHI care team informing them and educating them on next steps. In addition, patients have access to the online patient portal to enable real time access to their results. CHI tells those positive patients that the Department of Health (DOH) will also be contacting them as CHI shares all positive results with the DOH.

Those looking to get tested need to meet the following criteria: They have recently traveled to any of the high-risk countries or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. In addition, they might be experiencing the following symptoms: fever, cough or shortness of breath.

Drive through testing will be as follows:

  • No appointment necessary: Doris Ison Health Center 10300 SW 216 St. Miami, FL 33190, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to noon.  
  • Appointment necessary, only Monroe County residents, must meet testing criteria: CHI Marathon Health Center 2805 Overseas Highway, Marathon, FL 33050 every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Call 305-216-2107 or email [email protected] for appointment time.

 “This organization was founded to ensure that everyone has access to high quality healthcare regardless of income or insurance status,” said Brodes H. Hartley, Jr. “After hurricane Andrew we were the first to open our doors to the community, and once again we were the first in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties to offer drive through COVID-19 testing during this pandemic.”

CHI has also integrated behavioral health staff into its COVID-19 testing operations. This team of therapists and mental health technicians helps to ease anxiety and stress related to the Coronavirus pandemic.

CHI’s health centers remain open during this time as patients are being screened at the entrance for COVID-19 as a precaution for safeguarding the general patient population. Those with symptoms are not allowed inside so that primary care, behavioral health, dental, OB/GYN, pharmacy, vision, radiology and urgent care visits can continue. Only emergency dental visits will occur at this time.

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