WILLOUGHBY, Ohio (WOIO) - A new COVID-19 testing site just opened in Northeast Ohio.
Gov. Mike DeWine has said increased testing is key to the reopening process in Ohio.
Signature Health Providers opened drive-through and walk-up testing in Willoughby.
Signature is a full service health facility, and this is an extension of that in response to the pandemic, explained Dr. Sarah Hoehnen.
She said “one of our main goals is to provide health care to people who may not be able to access it in typical healthcare settings...It’s very important to us that the people in our community have access to this care and testing regardless of their circumstances, regardless if they have an automobile, regardless of where they live and if they’re able to access bigger healthcare systems.”
The testing will take place in Signature Health’s parking lot every Tuesday and Thursday.
They started in Ashtabula a few weeks ago and so far, Dr. Hoehnen said it’s been going very well, with very few positive cases.
Patients must call ahead for a telehealth meeting first to determine if they need to come in for a test.
To make the testing even more accessible, they’re offering a walk-up option. After talking to medical staff on the phone, patients can walk up to a tent in the parking lot and get a test.
“We don’t want people’s access to COVID testing to stop our community response. We don’t want that to get in the way of providing good health care to the entire community,” said Hoehnen.
She added, “there’s people who don’t have vehicles who don’t know how to access drive-up testing at some of the larger centers and we want to be a provider for them, as well.”
Signature Health is a Federally Qualified Health Center, so they are able to offer the tests to anyone who needs them at no cost, even without insurance.
Dr. Hoehnen said it’s the goal is to bridge a health care divide in the community.
“I think people who don’t have insurance or who don’t have access to healthcare system in general are more vulnerable to most disease processes.” She pointed out, “there’s been a lot of layoffs and there’s been a lot of people that are newly uninsured and we want to make sure they can still access care.”
For patients already coming to Signature Health for primary care, the first step is talking with their doctor to determine if they should be tested.
For people not currently coming to Signature Health, they can call the COVID-19 hotline at 440-578-8203 and speak to a triage nurse.