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Alluvion Health moves COVID-19 testing center and shifts focus

Posted at 9:37 AM, Aug 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-02 11:37:58-04

Alluvion Health’s drive-thru COVID-19 testing center has moved to a new location, and testing will now be limited to a specific demographic.

Since Alluvion Health began offering drive-thru testing in May, they have completed more than 7,600 tests and modified their testing focus several times in response to changes in testing availability and the rise in cases throughout the state.

After Governor Steve Bullock ordered a statewide mask mandate last week, testing centers like Alluvion were advised to redirect their testing from the general public to only those who displayed symptoms and/or were determined to be in direct contact with a person infected with COVID-19.

Alluvion Health marketing director Erin Merchant explained that this operational change was in direct response to the governor’s orders. “We have shifted our focus for individuals that we’re testing. That just allows results to come back quicker. That is a statewide focus as labs are at capacity across the state and country,” Merchant said.

In addition to redirecting their testing focus, the drive-thru testing center also changed locations a few days after the mandate went into effect, and is now located at Montana ExpoPark. Merchant said plans for a new location were already in the works prior to the governor’s announcement, and explained that the move was due to convenience not increased need for testing in Cascade County.

“As we are starting to move into the fall, we wanted to make sure that we had an area should weather get a little bit hard to navigate, and should testing continue into the fall, we have a space that will accommodate both our staff and people going through the drive-thru,” Merchant said.

The change in location will allow for increased comfortability and simplicity for staff. “Having a covered area allows us to keep our staff more comfortable. It also helps to keep our operation up,” Merchant said.

When the drive-thru was located at the Westgate Mall, the lack of coverage and security indoors meant the staff had to set up and take down their equipment each day. The new venue makes the process of preparing the testing center easier. “That saves us time obviously and just keeps everything organized,” Merchant said.

In order to access the testing center, patients must enter through the 3rd Avenue NW entrance as other entrances to the fairground are closed. If you have questions, call Alluvion at 454-6973, or click here to visit the website.