Fire department conducting COVID-19 testing

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By Jessie Wagoner

The McPherson Fire Department is now conducting COVID-19 testing on a daily basis. The testing is free of charge and open to the public.

The testing will be conducted daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents are asked to call 620-245-2505 to check availability and schedule the testing. Those being tested cannot eat, drink, smoke, chew gum or brush teeth for at least 30 minutes prior to the test.The testing will be conducted in the rear parking lot of the fire station, 312 E. Kansas Ave. The area will be identified by signs and cordoned off for parking.

Upon arrival, patient information will be collected and the guidelines of the testing will be explained. The fire department is asking that patients follow the six step process outlined below:

Go to the staging box in the designated area.

Remove the collection tube out of the biohazard bag in the box, take the lid off.

You will then proceed to pool saliva (spit) into the collection tube until it goes to the 1 ml mark. (Fill the cone of the collection tube).

Once done, replace the lid securely on the collection tube. (Failure to properly secure the lid may result in specimen rejection or delayed testing).

Place collection tube into biohazard bag and securely seal it.

Place biohazard bag back in the collection box and return to your vehicle. The collection has concluded, and you are free to leave.

Patients do not need to have symptoms to be tested. Additionally, no doctor’s orders are required. Test results will be provided in approximately 24 to 48 hours.

Shalei Shea, director of the McPherson County Health Department, has released updated data regarding COVID-19 in McPherson County. As of press time, a total of 2,239 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded. Of those cases, 1,269 have met recovery guidelines or passed away. There are currently 970 active cases of COVID-19 in McPherson County, with 20 current hospitalizations and 22 deaths.

Shea says McPherson County residents are encouraged to help slow the spread of coronavirus by:

Following Phase 2 of Reopening Kansas and McPherson County .

Maintaining social distancing.

Avoiding gatherings in groups greater than 15 persons.

Wearing cloth face coverings or homemade masks when in public.

Practicing cough etiquette and washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds