COVID-19 testing is now available to anyone in the area at local Midwest Express Clinic offices.
"We've seen a great number of asymptomatic individuals test positive. These are asymptomatic carriers who are contagious and can easily pass this on to others in the community. By testing them and quarantining them, we hope to help mitigate and prevent further spread of this virus,” MEC Medical Director Dr. Golsa Shahkar said.
MEC is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week at locations in Schererville, Crown Point, Dyer, Munster, Merrillville and Hammond. Testing for both the virus and antibodies is available in Munster, Schererville, Merrillville and Crown Point. Midwest Express Clinic also has locations in Illinois.
Midwest Express Clinic previously only tested front-line workers, critical care, first responders and essential workers. It began offering screenings to anyone who'd like one this week.
“Anybody deemed high-risk and anyone showing symptoms should get tested," MEC Family Nurse Practitioner Kaitlyn Steinberg said. "We recommend essential workers and anyone with known exposure to COVID-19 get tested, too."
Those with compromised immune systems or other medical conditions, as well as those over 65 years old, are considered high risk, Shahkar said.
Patients must not show symptoms for a minimum of seven days for the antibody test. MEC recommends waiting for 14 days.
Anyone looking for a screening or visiting for any other reason are asked to check in online at midwestexpressclinic.com with an ID and insurance card ready. Most insurance is accepted, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Patients should stay in their vehicles and call or knock on the door when they arrive. Midwest Express Clinic asks visitors to wear a mask and will provide one at the door, if necessary. Staff will run through a quick survey to determine if they can enter the building or will need curbside service.
Center for Disease Control guidelines are followed to ensure the safety of patients and staff. Doors and surfaces are disinfected between patients and all tests are performed by a licensed medical practitioner wearing personal protection equipment.
Tents are set up for drive-through and curbside care to ensure the office is not exposed to the virus.
“We want to help give the community peace of mind during a difficult time,” Shahkar said.