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Stanford, Kaiser hold drive-thru coronavirus testing, but you can't just head over there

Original post made on Mar 15, 2020

At least two large, local medical centers are now providing drive-through testing for COVID-19. Stanford Health Care’s Express Care clinics and Kaiser Permanente are offering the tests to patients through appointments.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, March 15, 2020, 3:17 PM

Comments (16)

Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 15, 2020 at 3:33 pm

Really glad testing is finally happening. We really cannot control the spread of the disease without knowing how many people are sick.

Posted by The wages of not doing the right thing
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2020 at 4:11 pm

Surveillance for something like this really should cast a wider net than just people with confirmed symptoms. They're still learning about this thing and it can mutate.

This is what we get from years of the CDC using narrow definitions in diseases like Lyme disease in which they didn't worry about it being transmitted, so they kept things narrow which made the insurers happy as they denied care to most people and research continued to focus only on a small subset. Year after year it became accepted norm to make surveillance definitions that were extremely narrow to catch those with consistent symptoms rather than expansive to catch all cases and in order to understand the range. No one cared because the only people who suffered were the non-contagious patients.

Santa clara county currently has what, 91 confirmed disease cases and like 40 of them are hospitalized? Either the hospitalization rate just went way up or the county is missing half the cases at least. Even if current measures stop the escalation of cases, there's next year. We should be testing large numbers of people in order to catch the full spectrum of the disease, under stand how it spread to this point, and especially to understand all presentations including the unusual ones.

Posted by Trump fired the national pandemic team
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 15, 2020 at 4:28 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Scared
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 15, 2020 at 8:49 pm

Get after PAFM (Sutter), they are dropping the ball big time at urgent care facilities though out bay area. Poor chaotic handling of patients, lack of equipment, no management over sight, procedures that put all patients and doctors at high rusk of exposure. Stay far far away! Major scandal.

Posted by It's All About the Profits
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2020 at 9:11 pm

"Media-relations staff at Sutter Health, which operates the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, declined to state whether the health organization is offering drive-through testing or not."

Sounds like the answer is no; Sutter / PAMF does not offer drive through testing.

Posted by PAMF Not Testing
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 16, 2020 at 9:42 am

Here's the first part of an email I received from PAMF/Sutter this morning. I'm really disappointed they are not testing:

"Several Sutter facilities now have respiratory clinics open. The purpose of these clinics is to evaluate and treat patients with respiratory symptoms separately from the general population.

This helps prevent the spread of illness to other patients in our waiting rooms. General COVID-19 testing for the public is not available at this time."

Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 16, 2020 at 10:51 am

Is PAMF not doing any testing because they do not have access to the tests or because they won't let insurance pay for them? The USA medical system is really broken either way.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 16, 2020 at 11:25 am

Stanford developed it's own test, which may be why they can provide the testing now. Kaiser is one of the largest providers in the country; perhaps that gave them priority? I'm a PAMF patient, but don't place any blame on them given the chaos at the Federal level and the repeated, failed promises to deliver "millions" of tests. Perhaps my opinion will change if new information comes out.

Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2020 at 12:53 pm

Wonder if Stanford will be reporting the results of this testing (ie -- number of people tested and number of positives found) to the public in a timely fashion?

Posted by Amy
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 16, 2020 at 11:30 pm

As far as I can tell- including from personal and household experience- potential mild cases are STILL not being tested unless a person has visited China/Italy or hadn’t contact with someone else who tested positive.

Stanford doctors giving excellent advice about how to safely manage at home and when to seek ER care, but no testing. Very troubling that we STILL are not getting anywhere near an accurate read on the situation by not casting a wide enough net.

Don’t know if this is still due to Stanford not being able to process tests quickly enough or administration not updating criteria for testing. If the former, it’s troubling because Stanford likely has a better testing ability than many other places who are relying on outside testing kits at this time (ie it’s currently among the best). If the latter, I really don’t get it (if it’s not tied to inadequate testing). I think medical professionals on the front lines are frustrated with the situation too.

When is this likely to improve?!?!?!

I don’t think it’s good that we’re only documenting the severe cases passed along by community spread. (That will also likely inflate the death rate.)

Posted by Trump fired the national pandemic team
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 17, 2020 at 6:25 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by When do they learn?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2020 at 8:31 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Mayra
a resident of Woodside
on Mar 19, 2020 at 9:15 am

Yesterday I went to Mills Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame,Ca I had a bad infection in my lungs And short of breath the dr. At the hospital told me it could be corona virus and he didn’t want to test me . He said they are saving the rest for worse cases. I m very disappointed I have two kids with asthma here at home that can be at high risk and I told the dr. He didn’t care that they can get sick . No X rays ir test ,he just gave me a cold med . All the personal I saw that were checking on people that could have the virus were not protected at all neither the dr. That saw me that surprised me . Also the nurse that check me for fever didn’t clean the tools or chair. I advice everyone not to go there at all . It is a high risk of infection in that hospital

Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 19, 2020 at 9:26 am

Mayra, Perhaps you can contact your family doctor (if you have one)? I hope you get the care you need.

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Mar 21, 2020 at 9:06 am

For my neighbors:

My understanding is PAMF, Kaiser, and Stanford ALL phone triage patients with respiratory complaints. Most patients with mild symptoms are asked to stay at home and self-isolate to protect themselves and their family and use supportive care: rest, fluids, & Tylenol if needed. Remember it is also still cold & flu season. People with moderate severity or who meet criteria for current testing are directed to the drive through with an appointment. Testing for COVID-19 still depends more on test availability, or lack of availability, rather than reasonable need for testing). People with severe symptoms and difficulty breathing are triaged to urgent care or ER if they haven’t already gone there themselves. Data sets show ~80% of people with COVID-19 will have mild to no symptoms and will still spread the disease. ~15% may need more serious medical care like a hospital bed and a smaller percentage will need a ventilator and ICU bed. In order for the severely ill to get the care they need it is important to stay away from hospitals and medical buildings if your symptoms are mild.

PAMF, Kaiser, and Stanford all have drive-throughs where patients can stay in their car to avoid possible spreading of COVID-19 while getting the testing or evaluation they need. Some patients who are severe will be asked to go to Urgent Care or the ER and will likely be tested there if admitted to the hospital. However, patients with severe disease or whose infection suddenly worsened will likely already be at the ER through triage with their PCP (primary care doctor). ALL OF THE DRIVE-THROUGHS ARE BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. One usually obtains appointments through a telephone visit with their PCP or care provider. Testing for COVID-19 or Flu can be done in these drive-throughs. Kaiser did not publish the location so people would not rush there without an appointment. PAMF has locations set up in various cities and people can make appointments at the location of their choice or the location that has availability in the drive-through. Stanford published their location and an appointment is still required. PAMF is evaluating patients similar to an office visit at their drive-through and does testing according to CDC guidelines unless the PCP previously triaged the patient and ordered testing to be done at the drive-through. Stanford drive-through is for testing. Kaiser drive through is for evaluation and testing. The drive-throughs help patients to stay in their car rather than expose themselves to a medical clinic where sick people have been coughing and also keeps the spread of COVID-19 infection away from patients with other severe medical illnesses (like the people who still come in for their cardiac ,pulmonary, cancer, rheumatologic, diabetic care).

Realize the testing “criteria” is fluid and changing weekly as tests become more available. The testing availability is excruciatingly slow and our community needs to work together to find how to speed up the process of obtaining high through-put, high volume, rapid testing. Doctors and providers WANT to test many more people than the current narrow guidelines recommend. Remember, 2 weeks ago we did not have commercial testing available and could only get a test through the county of Santa Clara via CDC testing in Atlanta. There were so few test kits available that many people who met the travel criteria to outbreak areas could not be tested unless they had symptoms. Now our community has commercial testing available and also Stanford’s own testing process, yet the amount of available test kits have not yet scaled up to the need.

It should be noted that PAMF & Kaiser follow the CDC recommendations for who gets tested for COVID-19 because commercial test kits are still in limited supply. This is frustrating for all involved: patients & doctors and our entire community wish it were different. Testing rapidly & widely would help us locate disease hot spots, understand where spread is occurring, isolate infected persons quickly thereby reducing spread without isolating everybody (because at some point, weeks or months from now, we want to know who should stay at home and who should return to work— it may be beneficial to our community if this depends on testing negative rather than being symptom-free).

If this information was helpful, please feel free to share.

Posted by Trump fired the national pandemic team
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 21, 2020 at 10:24 am

Trump made one good move: stopping travel from China.

It would have been great if he used the time he bought to get us ready, but as can be seen from this topic and thread, Trump failed to get tests out to the field along with many mistakes (testing capacity, PPE production, etc..)

All of this was covered in Pandemic Exercises that he and his administration participated in during 2017, 2018 and 2019. It was the reason that Obama created a National Pandemic Team, the one Trump later fired.

Trump had 2 months to roll out tests. In January, he declined offers on tests from the WHO and made a crucial mistake in choosing to go with the CDC when other countries chose many sources including the WHO.

This week, the numbers show the first costs of his mistakes. Next week will be far worse. This is courtesy of the President who still claims he ranks himself a "ten".

Hang in there, folks. We will somehow survive the Trump Virus mission-critical mistakes, we will survive the Trump Bear Market.

Hopefully, in a few weeks, there will be enough tests and capacity for everyone who thinks they may have been exposed, so that they may take appropriate actions to protect their families and our great community.

Stay safe, y'all...

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