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Aurora St. Luke’s to open drive-thru coronavirus testing: ‘Going to come in phases’

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MILWAUKEE -- Aurora is planning to offer drive-up coronavirus testing sites, but you can't just show up; the number of people eligible for testing is shrinking.

Dr. Nkem Iroegbu

Physicians at Aurora St. Luke's, like other hospital systems around Wisconsin, are preparing to ramp-up testing for COVID-19.

"We anticipate we will have drive-thru testing at most of our sites, but that's going to come in phases," said Dr. Nkem Iroegbu, chief medical officer with Aurora St. Luke's.

The drive-thru at Aurora St. Luke's could be up and running next week. Patients will need to pre-register over the phone or through the Aurora app; only those who meet CDC criteria will be tested.

"They will be screened by the nurse, who will enter all their information," Iroegbu said.

A patient at the drive-thru who has serious symptoms could be admitted immediately. Others will be sent home with instructions on how to access their test results.

"Our focus remains on keeping not just the public, but our employees, safe," said Iroegbu.

The chief medical officer believes Aurora has an adequate supply of test kits to meet the current demand, but, if demand goes up significantly, physicians, lab testing and samples may have to prioritize.

"If those tests are sent and they don't meet the criteria, those test results may be delayed or may not be done at all," Iroegbu said.

According to the Milwaukee County Health Department, the number of samples being received exceeds daily capacity. The Milwaukee lab and the state lab in Madison will only test high-priority samples from hospitalized patients and health care workers for the foreseeable future. Test requests that do not meet the criteria will be sent to other labs in the state and country.

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