Need a swab? Head for the white tents at MHSC

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The new, white swab tents in front of the Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County look a bit like a miniature replica of Denver International Airport. The Wyoming National Guard recently helped erect the tents.

Go to curative.com to make a swabbing appointment

ROCK SPRINGS — Don’t let the white tents fool you. It’s still the place to get swabbed for COVID-19 in front of Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County.

“The swabbing tents offer protection from the harsh weather, while still providing easy access to patients for testing,” said MHSC Lab Director Mary Fischer.

The tents were recently purchased with the help of Cares Act money. MHSC purchased the tents knowing they would have to be built to withstand the wind, to some degree, said David Beltran, MHSC Emergency Manager. With the help of the Wyoming National Guard, it was assembled quickly last week.

Wyoming National Guardsman William Romkee heads out through the new tent now attached to the front entrance of Sweetwater Memorial to assist in the drive-thru swabbing line. The swabbing station is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekends with 250 appointments available daily. Appointments are required.

“Each support pole is fitted with weight plates,” he said. “In addition, we have tie downs for further support. I created a response team to react quickly in taking down the tents if we have notification of high wind warning or we witness the wind getting too strong. We can respond and take down the tents in 10 minutes.”

Beltran said the evening of Dec. 15 was a good test. One of the walls had to be removed during the night. A security officer said it was acting like a sail.

“They were quick to remove the wall,” Beltran said. “The canopy held up very nicely with the winds we had.”

It’s also important to note that the tent entrance has a 7-foot clearance, he said. Tall vehicles are instructed to use the left lane.

The swabbing station continues to operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekends with 250 appointments available daily. Appointments are now required in order for most people to be tested at the Drive-Thru COVID-19 Specimen Collection Station 1200 College Drive. Due to limited resources and to increase convenience, Curative oral swabs are now being used. It also will help keep the line from getting too long.

Notable exceptions to the appointments:

  • Patients who require surgery, a colonoscopy, or a procedure such as a pulmonary function test or sleep studies at Sweetwater Memorial.
  • Patients scheduled for similar procedures at hospitals other than Sweetwater Memorial also do not need an appointment. However, please note that while MHSC can perform swabs and send them to reference labs, it cannot guarantee when test results will be available. MHSC staff will do their best to get the tests performed in a timely manner but does rely on the efficiency of the reference labs.

The Curative test is free, made possible by the Wyoming Department of Health, Public Health Division, which is making tests available to swabbing centers through Wyoming’s County Health Departments.

It’s simple:

  • Go to the curative.com website and register. You must use an updated browser such as Firefox or Google Chrome. If you need help making an appointment, call the swabbing hotline at 307-352-8360.
  • Click on Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County as your nearest testing site and schedule an appointment.
  • DO NOT have food, drinks, candy, gum, mouthwash, tobacco, etc. up to 20 minutes before the swab collection.
  • Drive up to the swabbing station in front of the hospital at 1200 College Drive at your appointed time. The hospital will have received your information and will have your swab kit waiting for you.
  • A healthcare worker at the hospital will be prepared to help you with an oral swab. The healthcare worker will oversee the sample collection, which involves coughing to produce enough fluid for a viable sample.
  • The hospital will send the sample via UPS, along with all of those collected that day, to the Curative test site in California.
  • When test results are complete, Curative emails the results directly to the patient. The results are made available to Sweetwater Memorial and to the Wyoming Public Health Laboratory.
The swabbing station at Sweetwater Memorial offers the team some protection from the harsh elements. Go to curative.com to make an appointment at the drive-thru swabbing station at 1200 College Drive.

If you have questions about MHSC’s new swabbing test, call 307-352-8360 or go to the Coronavirus Update page at sweetwatermemorial.com.


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