GILBERT, AZ — Mobile COVID-19 testing sites are starting to pop up around the Valley at places like Banner Healthcare and the Mayo Clinic.
A Gilbert primary care physician's office is among the first private healthcare providers to roll out the service for their patients.
The Hatfield Medical group has been around since the 1960s. The group has seven clinics in the East Valley and 32,000 patients, most of them on Medicare.
Staff tell ABC15 they knew they had to act immediately to offer testing for their patients, especially those who are elderly and chronically ill.
The facility allowed ABC15 cameras to get an inside look at how they're doing the testing.
The set-up is pretty simple - employees place a tent outside the front doors so those who are being tested do not have to come inside the office and risk exposing other patients or staff.
In fact, patients don't even have to get out of their cars. As soon as they pull up, nurse Monique who is outfitted in an isolation gown, face shield, gloves, and mask approaches the vehicle to get patient information and conduct the actual test.
Dr. David Hatfield, Chief Officer of the Hatfield Medical Group says COVID-19 has to be taken very seriously.
"I would absolutely reiterate to the general public this is not just a cold, the common cold," said Dr. Hatfield. "The elderly and those with underlying conditions could find themselves in critical condition with this deadly virus
Hatfield stressed the need for isolation and social distancing as a way to prevent the spread of this virus. "All hands need to be on deck right now, we need the community to understand this," said Dr. Hatfield.
It is important to point out, not anyone can just show up and ask to be tested at the Hatfield Medical Group office in Gilbert. Those who were showing up all had an appointment.
Jim Schafer, Vice President of Health Services for Hatfield Medical Group said the patients had been screened through their telehealth services doctor, and then called in for testing because they displayed symptoms linked to COVID-19.
"They have an active fever, a cough, and respiratory symptoms," said Schafer.
ABC15 asked officials how many medical test kits they had been able to get. "Currently we have 100 tests available and we are hoping for more obviously, like everybody else is right now," said Dr. Hatfield.
Schafer added that due to the limited number of test kits available they were following CDC and state health department guidelines, and limiting testing to the most vulnerable patients right now.
Staff showed ABC15 a typical COVID-19 test kit, which was basically the same kit used to test for the flu. The packet included a nasal swab and vial.
Each test took just a few minutes. So far the clinic has tested close to 40 patients since Monday. The test vials are bagged, sealed, and then sent to their partner Sonora Quest labs who will conduct the final test to determine if the patient has COVID-19.
Test results could take a few days to be released. So far staff said they had not received any test results back from the lab yet.
Right now you do have to be a patient with the Hatfield Medical Group to be eligible for their testing. You can get more information here.