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COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites to close

Declining volumes and easily available tests elsewhere bring an end to the drive-thru sites in Medford, Grants Pass.

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collection
Medford’s drive-thru testing site opened in March 2020.

After more than two years, Asante’s drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in Medford and Grants Pass are closing. The last day employees will collect specimens at both locations is Saturday, April 30.

“When Asante’s leaders asked us to open a specimen collection site in March 2020, we got it up and running in a matter of days,” said Sherry Sorenson, manager of Lab Outreach Services at ARRMC. “Ours was the first drive-thru specimen collection site in Oregon, something our entire organization should be very proud of.”

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Setting up the collection site in Grants Pass, 2020. At its peak this location collected 307 specimens a day.

In the 25 months since opening, nearly 137,000 specimens have been collected at these sites. The most specimens collected on a single day for each location was 665 on Aug. 17, 2021, in Medford and 307 on Jan. 18, 2022, in Grants Pass.

“It’s been a tough two years, but Asante truly stepped up as a leader in our community to respond to the COVID crisis,” Sorenson said. Offering this service in our community has not been without significant financial impact to our organization. To date, Asante has had about $1 million in expenses not offset by revenue from the specimen collection sites.

The decision to close the two sites is based on several factors. Demand for testing has greatly declined since February, from an average of 135 to 37 collections a day in Medford and 60 to 13 a day in Grants Pass. Additionally, several other businesses within the community offer this service in Jackson County and Josephine County, and consumers have easy access to at-home rapid tests.

Laboratory employees working at the collection sites are in great demand and will be redeployed to draw stations within the health system. “Our employees who worked at these remote sites have endured some of the worst conditions, from extreme heat and cold to wildfire smoke,” Sorenson said. “They are incredibly appreciated, and we are grateful for their service and dedication.”

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Asante gives back to the Red Cross
Test results to be immediately available in MyChart

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