LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - In the parking lot of the Lake Charles Urgent Care on Country Club Road, tents are set up with healthcare providers in personal protective gear. A sign with cones blocking the tents reads “Please Stop! We are screening for fever. Stay behind the cones, thank you.”
As those being tested for COVID-19 grows, Dr. Jay Marque, Medical Director and owner of Lake Charles Urgent Care, has shifted testing outside the clinic.
“I used models from different cities from around the country that have been hit and just thinking about ways that we can protect our staff," Marque said. "Mostly the healthcare workers are who we really need to protect so they can actually take care of the sick patients as we get through this pandemic.”
To limit the exposure of potential COVID-19 positive patients, those that have symptoms consistent with the virus are asked to stay in their cars. Any symptomatic patient that goes to a different location first, will be screened of their temperatures and then sent to the Country Club Location.
“It’s our first priority to minimize the amount of people that come in contact with the [symptomatic] people,” Marque said. “That’s another reason why we came out here because inside they see the person doing the registration, the triage nurse, the provider, the x-ray tech, they come in contact with lots. Here, there’s going to be one person that takes their temperature, and the rest of the time they’re here they see one provider.”
After being screened of their temperature, patients running any sort of temperature are sent back to their cars, while those with a normal temperature can go inside like a normal clinic visit.
“We call them from their cellphones and actually will take a history over their phone and then one of our providers will go out to their vehicle, examine them and do any testing that needs to be done," Marque said. "We’ll only bring them in the if we need a chest x-ray or something we can’t accomplish from their car which is pretty uncommon.”
For head nurse Marylyn Dore this method, which they started on Tuesday, is effective.
“It’s pretty scary, it’s an unknown virus. It’s changing our criteria. Our criterias and guidelines are changing daily, so it’s kinda scary," Dore said. "We’re in healthcare, we’re on the front lines, so we do what we can to protect ourselves and hope for the best.”
Testing is available for any patient showing symptoms of the coronavirus. Since the outside clinic opened, they have sent around 100 COVID-19 tests for screening.
Patients are asked to call ahead at 337-990-8000. Testing is available from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.