Local medical care center testing patients from their cars for COVID-19

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – As concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic remain high, local testing centers are growing in their abilities to test patients with symptoms without them having to get out of their cars.

Today, Bluegrass Medical Care in Bowling Green started using a new process to test for the virus.

According to nurse practitioner Heather Parsley, there are two kinds of tests for COVID-19 used by Bluegrass Medical Care: one is a swab of the throat and nose, and one is a nasal rinse.

Both are collected while the patient is in their car and sent to labs to be tested.

“I am just glad that they are able to do it from the car. You don’t have to actually come in and be exposed to much. I am glad that they are able to do that and that it is so close,” said Richard Enlow, a patient who was tested Wednesday.

If a patient is showing symptoms, nurses say they test for the flu and strep first. If the tests come back negative, they test for COVID-19.

“We’ve got flu B that is rampant out here and it is scaring the community because they think that they are positive because they are having those symptoms,” said Lena Gokey, a nurse practitioner at Bluegrass Medical Care.

“Before today, we were doing labs with Solaris, and now LabCorp has opened up a different technique to be able to test more patients so, we are still only testing patients who have symptoms and need the test. We are following the CDC guidelines at this practice to make sure we are doing the right test on the right patient,” said Parsley.

The reason for the extra tests? Flu symptoms are similar to COVID-19 symptoms: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

“I am hearing more and more positive cases in our county and the surrounding counties so it’s hitting close to home so that does concern me,” said Parsley.

It takes about four days to receive the results of the COVID-19 tests.