In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become increasingly imperative that accurate testing is available to as many people as possible. Here in Northwest Indiana, Midwest Express Clinic has been there from the start, providing testing for all as well as virtual healthcare options for regular patients.
“We started testing as early as March 15, right when the stay at home order was put in place,” said Kate Cunningham, Human Resources and Operations Manager for Midwest Express Clinic. “We started at the Munster location and since then we’ve expanded to 10 total locations.”
To get tested, individuals need only register online with their ID and insurance information and drive up to any Midwest Express Clinic location.
“When people arrive for testing, we have them stay in their vehicle until we can prescreen them to determine if we can see them inside or curbside,” Cunningham said. “High-risk patients such as those with other health complications, essential workers, and those 60 or older who also have symptoms would qualify for curbside assistance. Non-high-risk patients may be tested inside if they wish.”
These tests play a critical role in tracking the spread of the virus and aiding government officials in determining safety regulations across the country. Effectively fighting COVID-19 means keeping that data as accurate as possible, and Midwest Express Clinic relies on the most accurate testing available.
“Although our testing takes 3-5 days to come back, the results are reliable,” Cunningham said. “There has been some talk about a rapid test that takes 15 minutes to come back. However, we don’t offer that because, through research with our lab partners, we found that rapid testing has increased risk of false negatives, and we’d rather rely on more accurate testing.”
Midwest Express Clinic offers more than just curbside COVID-19 testing. They now offer an antibody test for those who may have had the virus but have been symptom-free for 14 days. The test confirms whether an individual now has the antibodies necessary to fight off the virus. It gives them a reasonable chance of not contracting this particular strain of the disease, although research has yet to determine how long immunity lasts. For Dr. Golsa Shahakr, M.D., Medical Director at Midwest Express Clinic, offering the antibody test is just as important as the initial COVID-19 testing.
“We want to offer the antibody testing to give people the comfort of knowing whether they have developed immunity and help them get back to work and return to their daily lives,” Shahkar said. “Since we’re using the most effective test out there, we can give people that confidence.”
With so much uncertainty created by the onset of COVID-19, Midwest Express Clinic made it their aim to become a reliable, trusted source for information and care.
“As the virus spread, we saw a shortage of testing and people not knowing where to go,” Cunningham said. “We wanted to be an information hub for the community, to do our part in serving the community during this time, and also find a way to continue helping patients that may have dropped off due to the pandemic.”
To continue patient care throughout the pandemic, Midwest Express Clinic is offering telehealth options to reach patients where they’re sheltering.
“Right now, we are catering primarily to established visits that need follow up, though we plan to expand that to new patients as well,” Cunningham said. “We also use telehealth to follow up on our COVID patients because we can’t see them in-person after testing. The main goal is to service that continuity of care.”
“It’s really tough to get appointments with primary care physicians right now, as a lot of them are closed temporarily,” Cunningham continued. “For community members that might not know where to go to get health care service, or those that might not feel safe coming into the clinic, telehealth provides that added safety net for them. It’s just another way for us to be there when they need help the most.”
To learn more about Midwest Express Clinic, COVID-19 testing, and telehealth options, visit https://midwestexpressclinic.com/services/illness-treatment/coronavirus/.