SIDNEY — Employer-mandated COVID-19 lab tests resulting in huge lines and hours of wait time are being reported at Wilson Memorial Hospital’s drive-through service.
According to some accounts on social media, lines of between 30 and 70 cars are being reported daily.
“I drove by and they were lined up all the way around the parking lot. Had to be 70 or more cars,” said Melissa Schneider.
“Took me 3 hours to get through yesterday,” reported Megan Marie Stockstill-Price about her wait on January 10.
“I sat for an hour and still had over 20 cars in front of me,” said Heather Artman.
Margo O’Leary, director of marketing and communications at Wilson Health said there are a few reasons for this. “First, testing volume across the country has increased, including right here in our area. Second, the Omicron variant spreads faster than any other coronavirus variant before it, and therefore testing volume is increasing. Third, Shelby County’s case positivity rate has increased due to a spike in COVID-19 activity in the county. Finally, Shelby County is one of the top manufacturing hubs in the state of Ohio with large employers such as Emerson Climate Technologies, Honda, Cargill operating with over 1,000 or more employees, and Wilson Health partners with over 400 companies throughout the region providing COVID-19 medical management services including testing employees for the COVID-19 virus.”
“We have really become an extension department of these companies over the past two years. Our number one goal at Wilson Health is to keep our community healthy and safe. This includes partnering with our local employers to help keep their workforce healthy and working. We are able to provide timely medical expertise under the direction of Dr. Scott Short, medical director for Wilson Health’s Occupational Health Services,” said David Potts, Director of Occupational Health Services for Wilson Health. “As the situation continues to evolve and change rapidly, Wilson Health keeps employers abreast of the latest rules and regulations to ensure companies are able to remain operating during these challenging times.”
Drive-thru COVID-19 testing is offered at Wilson Health Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Below are a few tips to help speed the process.
1. Learn about the difference in testing methods.
“Wilson Health has two options for COVID-19 testing – Rapid Antigen Testing and Molecular/PCR Testing,” O’Leary said.
An antigen is any substance the body does not recognize that triggers it to produce an immune response, while PCR testing is a molecular test using a lab technique called polymerase chain reaction.
Antigen testing looks for specific proteins on the virus’s surface and the test is a nasal swab just inside the nose. Results can be delivered in four hours or less. Positive results are accurate. Choose this test if you’ve had symptoms for five days or less, need fast results and you prefer the less invasive swab.
For the PCR testing, it detects the virus’s genetic material and the test is a nasopharyngeal swab, which is farther back in the nose. Results are delivered in one to two days and is considered the gold standard for accuracy. Choose this test if symptoms are longer than six days, to confirm results from a previous test or you have a need for the gold standard for accuracy.
This informational sheet explains the difference:
2. Bring a doctor’s order or fill out the required form in advance.
Both tests require a doctor’s order to be billed through insurance.
If a patient lacks insurance, an online form is available that can be completed in advance:
3. Know where to go.
“Rapid Antigen Testing is available at both Wilson Health Urgent Care clinics in Sidney and Minster, Ohio with results in less than 20 minutes. Patients must be evaluated by an Urgent Care provider through an urgent care visit in order to receive COVID-19 rapid antigen testing,” said O’Leary.
“Jobs won’t take at home tests as proof to be paid,” said one patient. “I had to go to Urgent Care for my test for it to be positive to be paid. If you test negative but you’re sick, it’s just like any other day — go home and try to feel better with no pay.”
4. If you don’t have insurance, be prepared to pay.
Credit and debit cards are the only accepted form of self-pay methods.
Expect to pay $90 out-of-pocket for a Molecular/PCR test or $60 out-of-pocket for a Rapid Antigen test.
5. Be patient and realize that workplace safety is important to protect yourself, your co-workers, and your family.
“We just lost a co-worker to COVID. So it is a real thing. People really truly are dying. I’m not a believer in the vaccine or wearing masks, I don’t judge others for their decisions to do so though. I don’t personally think that they work. But, this virus is very real and it is something to take seriously. It’s better to get tested and protect your elderly loved ones and ones with weaker immune systems by staying away from them while you are sick when you are positive,” said Sadi Spradlin.