SoCal urgent cares trying to keep up with demand for coronavirus testing

SHERMAN OAKS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- At Mend Urgent Care in Sherman Oaks, testing for COVID-19 has been going on for more than a week. Patients who come in requesting to be tested are taken to a separate area and kept away from the rest of the patient population.

The staff has also created a telemedicine program where patients can be evaluated without leaving their homes. Healthcare professionals can also be sent to patients' home to perform the diagnostic test.

Mend Urgent Care's CEO and medical director, Dr. Anthony Cardillo, said testing will be limited to people who are experiencing flu-like symptoms like fever, cough and other respiratory issues.

"I cannot stress more that we are reserving this for people who have symptoms who need to be tested," Cardillo said.

In the span of half an hour, about half a dozen patients walked in the urgent care requesting to get COVID-19 testing.

Cardillo and his staff are working with commercial companies such as Quest Diagnostics to process lab results. The turnaround should be 48 hours, but due to the high demand some patients are waiting more than a week to get results.

Cardillo says labs have resorted to freezing specimens in order to get caught up. He says he does have enough swab kits for people who need to be screened, but he is asking other doctors who are not providing testing at their locations to share the kits with colleagues who are performing the tests.

Mend Urgent Care is planning to hold drive-through COVID-19 testing this week.
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