Nanticoke provides COVID-19 testing to western Sussex County

The line was long for the free community COVID-19 screening/testing Tuesday in Seaford. (Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe)

SEAFORD — Free, community-wide COVID-19 screening and testing spread into western Sussex County Tuesday with the first of two drive-thru clinics this week hosted by Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and partners.

Lines of vehicles were long on the road winding to the screening/testing site in the parking lot of Frederick Douglass Elementary School.

Nanticoke’s second drive-thru clinic is set for Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tuesday’s five-hour clinic, the latest in a series to help gauge and track the spread and infection rate in Sussex County, featured screenings, education and social services support for at-risk populations in the area.

“It gives us a few things,” said Dr. Harry Anthony, Nanticoke Memorial’s medical director for outpatient network. “It will obviously give us a good gauge as to what is the inherent infection rate, because a lot of asymptomatic infection, we don’t know about them, as well as trying to break that cycle of infection.”

Sharon Harrington, director of strategic communications Delaware for Peninsula Regional Health System, said the clinic’s primary focus is to help those at-risk, those who have an exposure through the poultry plants, and those who do not have access to a primary care provider.

Spanish and Haitian Creole interpreters were on-site Tuesday and will be for Thursday’s clinic.

Tricia Collison, LPN of Peninsula Regional Medical Center, prepares to administer an oral swab during COVID-19 screening/testing Tuesday at Frederick Douglass elementary School’s parking lot. (Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe)

Several parts of Sussex County, including the central part that includes Georgetown, have been labeled “hot spots” following a huge spike in coronavirus cases.

Similar drive-thru clinics have been held in Georgetown hosted by Beebe Healthcare and at other downstate locations, hosted by Bayhealth and their supporting health care partners.

Tuesday, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital staff members were joined by staffers from Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Nemours, La Red and Delaware’s Division of Public Health. “It is definitely a big, combined effort from multiple organizations,” Dr. Anthony said.

The clinic featured screening for symptoms and testing either with a blood test and/or nasal swab based on symptoms and results. The goal of these clinics is to provide those who are positive with appropriate education and followup, and for all, positive or negative, safety information around quarantining, social distancing and other preventive measures.

Blood tests results were available in about 15 minutes.

Nasal swab tests will come back in three or four days.

“So, we’ll follow up with them for that,” said Dr. Anthony. “Anybody who is found to be positive today gets education for that, and also screening from the state for any social service needs, such as a hotel, or any assistance in isolating themselves. They also get some contact tracing so that we can figure out if anybody else needs to be tested or followed up on; who they might have gotten it from …. and who they might have given it to.”

Stephanie Roblero of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital’s staff checks in with the next person Tuesday at the COVID-19 screening/testing hosted by Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford.

A walk-up tent set up off the parking lot lanes was available to those unable to drive or get a ride to the drive-thru clinic.

Tuesday’s clinic was scheduled to last until 7 p.m.

“We heard from our community members that there are some people who can’t get here during the day. That is why we decided to do some night hours,” said Dr. Anthony.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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