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Drive-thru COVID-19 testing available in Idaho Falls for patients with doctor referrals


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IDAHO FALLS — Mountain View Hospital and Express Lab have opened a drive-thru novel coronavirus testing location to help eastern Idahoans who may have COVID-19.

The service has been up and running since Tuesday at 2060 S. Woodruff Ave. It’s not a public drive-thru; instead, patients must be referred for the test by their doctor.

“This is about focusing on the community and what’s the best thing (for them),” Mountain View Hospital Spokeswoman Natalie Podgorski said. “I’m sure people are going to be interested in this information and want to know it’s here. For us, our focus is on making sure we’re providing the care for the people that need it.”

According to an Eastern Idaho Public Health news release, possible patients to be tested include people who have a fever with cough or those with a fever and shortness of breath. Patients who have traveled to a COVID-19 affected area within 14 days or have had close contact with a lab-confirmed COVID-19 patient are also being tested.

“That’s what doctors really need to be making sure of when they are recommending someone be tested,” Podgorski said. “If someone comes and they have an order from their doctor, but they’re not showing symptoms or meeting that criteria, we still might not test them, only because testing supplies across the country are in short supply. We have to make sure we’re using all the resources we have wisely and effectively.”

Patients need to provide a referral from their doctor, along with a driver’s license and insurance card. They must stay in their car during the entire testing process and are strongly encouraged to self-quarantine at home afterward.

Results take a few days to get back and the doctor who ordered the test will provide the patient with the outcome, Podgorski said. Express Lab said Friday, they cannot make promises, but expect and hope that as additional guidance is provided, they will be able to resolve the payments for testing provided through governments and/or insurance companies. They expect insured patients to be covered 100 percent and uninsured patients to owe approximately $95.

They will continue to test patients as long as they have the resources necessary, according to Podgorski.

An Express Lab employee at a testing location for COVID-19. | Brittni Johnson,