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Daily Journal
     April 22, 2020      #16-113 KDJ
 

Riverside begins on-site COVID-19 testing 

By Lee Provost
lprovost@daily-journal.com


KANKAKEE — Riverside Medial Center is now equipped to conduct nasal swab tests to determine if someone is infected with the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, Phil Kambic, president and CEO of Riverside Healthcare, confirmed the hospital received the equipment late last week and all systems are now in place to conduct the tests.

The hospital, he noted, would be able to test up to 2,000 people per week. He noted tests would be done in batches of 200 and it is expected the hospital could complete as many as 400 a day.

However, people cannot simply drive up to the hospital and have a sample taken and a result given. People must have an order from their doctor to have the test taken.

Regarding hospital staff, Kambic said they will be tested, starting with the approximate 275 who have worked at Riverside’s Miller Healthcare Center. The Miller center has been hard hit by positive COVID-19 test results. Kambic noted every employee will be tested on Wednesday.

Anyone testing positive will be self-quarantined for seven days. They will be re-tested before being allowed work with patients or residents.

Late last week, 40 percent of the 70 occupants at the facility had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The hospital will work its way through its approximate 3,000-member workforce, starting with those with direct patient care. Kambic noted it could take up to a month to get through the entire staff.

He also noted Riverside will offer this service to other nursing homes by taking the testing equipment directly to the location. Kambic also noted plans are being made to administer on-site testing to areas such as Pembroke Township and Sun River Terrance where many residents do not have the ability to travel to the Kankakee hospital.

“We will take the testing to them,” he said.

Regarding Miller, Kambic noted the staff has been asking for the testing. “Most want to have the test done,” he said. “We strongly encourage all our employees to have this done.”

Asked if the test would be mandatory for employees, Kambic said that issue has not yet been addressed. “We will deal with it,” he said.

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Lee Provost
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