Urgent care clinics deal with increased demand for COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus Impacting Iowa

ANKENY, Iowa — Broadlawns Medical Center says across its three urgent care locations, it has seen up to a 30% increase in patients and is doing around 40 COVID-19 tests a day at its busiest clinic on the east side of Des Moines. 

“It worries me because now with flu season on the way,” Chief Medical Officer with Broadlawns Medical Center, Dr. Yogesh Shah said. “The worry we’ll most have is, ‘is it cough, is it just a regular flu or is it COVID,’” Chief Medical Officer with Broadlawns Medical Center, Dr. Yogesh Shah said.

Though Broadlawns says they are dealing with a shortage of COVID-19 testing materials, Dr. Shah said they will test everyone who comes through their doors. 

A UnityPoint urgent care in Ankeny is taking a different approach.

“We recently stopped testing asymptomatic patients. So now we don’t even do rapid tests on the asymptomatic patients. We have a handout for them of places that can go around town to get tested,” UnityPoint Physician’s Assistant, Brad Hill said.  “I think Unity Point did that just to save the tests we have because there is such an increase in COVID-19  in the general public.”

Even with not testing asymptomatic Iowans, Hill said his clinic still tests around 40 people a day. Hill believes this number is bound to rise even more within the next few months. 

The Polk County Health Department is urging asymptomatic people, such as concertgoers who have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 to attend an event, to use local pharmacies for testing. 

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