Residents rush to testing sites ahead of holidays

Health care providers in Oregon are describing a rush for testing unlike anything they’ve seen before, attributing much of the demand to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

Posted: Nov 20, 2020 4:54 PM
Updated: Nov 20, 2020 6:08 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Health care providers in Oregon are describing a rush for testing unlike anything they’ve seen before, attributing much of the demand to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

Nova Health operates clinics in Lane, Linn and Douglas counties and said there’s a variety of ways to get started with testing.

According to Vice President for Operations Stephanie Rhoades, one way is to show up to any urgent care location – especially if you have symptoms – and a professional will decide whether you need a test. You’ll be put on a list and eventually receive a rapid antigen test which yields results in a matter of minutes.

If you are showing symptoms or have been exposed to a positive case, you’ll likely receive a second, more accurate PCR test which must be sent off to a laboratory, which takes between one to two days.

If you want to stay in the car and don’t have symptoms, Rhoades said you can try Autzen Stadium. There, Nova has constructed a drive-through testing site that is first-come first-serve, so prepare to wait a few hours.

Wherever you get tested, Rhoades said Mondays are the busiest, and the activity tapers off during the rest of the week.

“Right now if you call in to some of our clinics, you might be able to get an appointment today or it might be tomorrow that they need to schedule you just based on how busy they are,” Rhoades said.

In Lane County, Nova Health processes about 700 tests each day, with about 300 to 400 coming from the Autzen testing site.

“If there's any kind of outbreaks in the community, we see our volumes fluctuate pretty dramatically,” Rhoades said.

The testing is covered by insurance providers with no out-of-pocket costs to those who get tested.

Lane County also offers periodic free testing events for the community. Keep an eye on the county’s website for upcoming dates.

The University of Oregon has also opened its testing program for students to the public, announcing a series of opportunities for Eugene-Springfield residents who are not showing symptoms of COVID-19. However, those spots filled up quickly and the website says to check back next week

Rhoades said there’s two big reasons for the uptick in people wanting tests. Employers are asking workers to get tested after possible exposures, and people are gearing up for holiday travel.

“I think it’s inevitable that people are going to get together,” said Juan Olivas, a Junction City resident. “It’d make a big difference if you got tested, just to know to avoid larger groups.”

Still, Rhoades said a negative test is not a reason to dismiss COVID-19 precautions.

“What we don’t want is to have you tested and then assume that everything is okay. The tests are not 100% accurate and so I would just recommend we all are very cautious with that as we go through the holidays,” Rhoades said.

To schedule an appointment or review COVID-19 testing options at Nova Health, click here.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 79293

Reported Deaths: 973
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Polk134319
Douglas99819
Klamath9475
Jefferson87811
Benton8557
Union8158
Morrow6757
Lincoln67015
Josephine5795
Wasco55419
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Coos4583
Hood River4343
Clatsop3820
Baker3014
Crook2486
Curry1532
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