St. Peter's Health closes dedicated PCR testing site

St. Peter's Health Picture.jpg
Posted at 11:59 AM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 13:59:51-05

HELENA — St. Peter’s Health has closed its dedicated COVID-19 PCR Testing site as of Monday, Feb. 21 due to decreasing case numbers. However, the hospital says the virus is still widespread locally, and noted testing will still be available through the hospital’s existing services.

The highest recorded number of new COVID-19 cases in Lewis and Clark County occurred on Feb. 3 of this year. Meanwhile, this past Monday’s recorded numbers were down to eight total cases.

In light of this information, a decline in demand for tests, and what other facilities throughout the state are doing, St. Peter’s has decided to close down their dedicated COVID-19 testing facility in order to integrate testing into existing services, such as what they did with their vaccination clinic.

“The declining numbers and then looking across the state and saying, ‘You know, other people are doing the same thing,’ It really just made sense for us to move in that direction. We're still offering COVID-19 testing. We encourage people to connect with their primary care providers. We encourage people to do a walk-in appointment if they're symptomatic. or have been exposed,” says Katie Gallagher, St. Peter’s Health Public Relations Manager.

Gallagher says that in light of the new Omicron mutation this is all subject to change and that St. Peter’s is adaptable. As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, things can change quickly.

“If we need to ramp up vaccination efforts again, we will certainly do that. If we need to look at reopening a dedicated COVID-19 testing site in the future, we will definitely look at that. So, nothing is off the table,” said Gallagher.

PCR testing can still be taken at the hospital’s Urgent-care locations or through primary care offices for established patients. They are not completing COVID-19 testing for travel.