SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Thanks to new equipment at a Springfield hospital, more people are being tested for COVID-19 than ever before in Lane County.
Cottage Grove resident Kaylynn Guevara is waiting in line Tuesday for a test she really wishes she didn't have to take.
"It goes pretty far up your nose, and I would not describe it as painful but it’s pretty uncomfortable, kind of like getting water up your nose," Guevara said.
But a few seconds of discomfort pays off.
She is one of the hundreds of people waiting in the drive-through line at McKenzie Willamette medical center, home of the largest COVID-19 testing site in Lane County.
"This doesn’t support just our hospital," said Adam Loris, the testing manager at McKenzie Willamette. "It supports all the other small businesses in the community—all those dentist offices. All of the surgery centers that weren’t able to do surgeries without these tests.
Since testing began in April, more than 16,000 people have driven through the line to meet the swab.
And thanks to this new piece of equipment from the University of Oregon, the hospital is averaging about 325 tests daily. The lab work is much faster, and test results are known inside of 48 hours. But loris says please don't call McKenzie Willamette.
"So you need to call your primary care provider, not the hospital," Loris said. "The hospital is not able to give out anything over the phone."
County-wide, public health managers say testing capacity is up to about 700 people per day, and could grow more if a simplified testing plan is approved.
"The new saliva testing that we’re seeking approval from at the University of Oregon is spearheading that, in partnership with Lane County Public Health, and trying to get approval for that test," said Jason Davis, with LCPH.
Out of 16,000 people tested for COVID at McKenzie Willamette, managers tell us 190 folks have tested positive for the virus.