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Verde Valley Medical Center expects increase in COVID-19 collections

VVN file photo

VVN file photo

COTTONWOOD — As of Monday afternoon, Verde Valley Medical Center has collected 54 specimens to be tested for the coronavirus, Marketing Specialist Karlee Weiler stated Tuesday in an email.

Since March 26, Northern Arizona Healthcare has operated a drive-up collection site at Verde Valley Medical Center, 269 S. Candy Lane, Cottonwood.

The drive-up site, open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., requires that patients remain in their vehicle “to minimize contact and promote social distancing,” Trista MacVittie, chief experience and communication officer with Northern Arizona Healthcare, stated in an email.

With fewer than 20 specimens on average each of the first three days, Northern Arizona Healthcare expects the numbers to “increase in the coming weeks,” Weiler stated.

“The feedback has been very positive,” Weiler stated. “Patients are pleased to know their sample can be taken quickly without leaving their vehicle or needing to make an appointment.”

Orders received electronically

According to MacVittie, the physician order process is electronic, meaning patients do not need to hand any items to the collection site staff.

“Most orders will be received electronically and contain all of the necessary information to complete your collection sample,” MacVittie stated. “In the chance that you do have a paper order, the collection site staff will verbally ask for the necessary information from that order and enter it into the system.”

The collection site is directly behind the education and marketing buildings and the dirt parking lot, with access through Willard Street.

Hours are “subject to opening or closing based on the availability of supplies to collect the samples,” according to a March 25 news release by Northern Arizona Healthcare.

“Proper identification will be needed to confirm the correct patient’s identification prior to the specimen being collected,” MacVittie stated. “Should multiple people in the vehicle have a collection order from their physician or provider, they will have a sample collected to be tested.”

Sonora Quest Labs processing specimens

MacVittie also stated that the collection site at Verde Valley Medical Center is using Sonora Quest Labs to process collected specimens.

“Due to the high demand of specimens being collected, result times may vary,” MacVittie stated. “Sonora Quest Labs approximates an average turnaround time of four to five business days from the date the specimen has been received.”

Once Northern Arizona Healthcare has received the results, patients will be notified by phone.

According to Ron Haase, Northern Arizona Healthcare’s chief administrative officer for the Verde Valley, the number of kits to collect samples from patients is limited and “we are making sure to keep a supply for the critically ill who may need hospitalization, before we collect samples from those with less serious symptoms.”

For more information, call the COVID-19 public hotline at 1-833-708-0894.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @AZShutterbug42

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