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Banner Health has opened two new drive-thru testing sites in Greeley and Fort Collins for those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms who have been screened and referred by a physician.
Banner is not releasing the hours or locations because they are not walk-in testing sites, spokeswoman Sara Quale said in a statement.
“People who call for appointments will be scheduled at the testing site most convenient to them. The location will be provided when the appointment is scheduled,” she said.
The health system has 1,500 appointments available per week, with test results available in three to five days, Quale said.
Banner Health is also seeking plasma donations from those who have recovered from COVID-19 to help treat current patients.
New test sites in Larimer, Weld
Those who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms such as fever and dry cough or have been exposed to the virus can call a Banner Health primary care clinic in Colorado to be screened and scheduled for an appointment.
Banner will collect samples for molecular diagnostic testing, which can detect a current infection but unable to determine if someone had a past infection. No antibody testing will be offered at the sites.
The drive-thru locations will not accept walk-ins. According to Banner, everyone must be screened by telephone in advance and scheduled for an appointment. Anyone showing up without an appointment will be asked to leave and complete the phone screening process “to ensure the safety of patients and health-care workers.”
‘Convalescent plasma’ needed
Banner Research is part of a national effort to recruit plasma donors and use the blood components as part of the treatment protocol for COVID-19 patients.
Those who have completely recovered from COVID-19 may have immune boosting
antibodies in their blood called convalescent plasma, which could be used to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Recovered COVID-19 patients can be referred directly to Vitalant or American Red Cross blood donation centers by their physician. Former patients who believe they meet the donation criteria also may reach out to a donation coordinator for assistance.
Donation coordinators can assess criteria for potential donors, answer questions and explain the donation process. A single plasma donation can be used for multiple patients, according to the news release.
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The Food and Drug Administration recently allowed the transfusion of convalescent plasma as an investigational treatment. It’s currently the only antibody treatment available for COVID-19 patients.
While this is still an investigational new drug, there is hope the product will provide some therapeutic benefit, Banner said.
“Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for the recovered COVID-19 patients to donate their valuable plasma,” said Chad Jaeger, senior director of operations with Banner Research. “The more information and assistance we can provide to put our recovered patients at ease and get them qualified quickly, the better, and our donation
coordinators are equipped to do just that.”
To donate plasma
In Northern Colorado, contact Debbie Kroll, clinical research specialist at Banner Research, at 970-810-2280 or Debbie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current eligibility criteria for plasma donation include:
- Prior diagnosis of COVID-19
- Fully recovered and symptom-free for at least 14 days, as determined by a medical provider
- At least age 17 years old and weighing at least 110 pounds
- In good health and feeling well
Pat Ferrier is a senior reporter covering business, health care and growth issues in Northern Colorado. Contact her at email@example.com. Please support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a subscription today.
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