fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Asante closes drive-thru COVID-19 test sites

Falling demand for COVID-19 testing and easy access to at-home tests prompted Asante to close its two drive-thru test sites in the Rogue Valley. Associated Press file photo
Other testing sites remain open in Rogue Valley

After operating for more than two years, Asante’s drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites closed down over the weekend amid falling demand for tests.

Other organizations continue to offer testing in the Rogue Valley, and residents can also order free at-home test kits through the U.S. Postal Service.

Asante opened its first drive-thru test site in Medford in March 2020 in the early days of the pandemic. The health care organization that runs three hospitals in Jackson and Josephine counties opened a second drive-thru test site in Grants Pass in July 2020, officials said.

“When Asante’s leaders asked our department to open a specimen collection site when the pandemic hit, we got it up and running in a matter of days,” Sherry Sorenson, manager of Lab Outreach Services at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, said in a press release. “It’s been a tough two years, and Asante truly stepped up to care for our community in a dire time of need to respond to the COVID crisis.”

Sorenson said employees who worked at the drive-thru sites endured heat, cold and wildfire smoke. Workers will be moved to other positions with Asante.

“They are incredibly appreciated, and we are grateful for their service and dedication to our patients and the community,” she said.

Since opening, the two Asante sites together collected 137,000 specimens for testing, officials said.

With the waning of a winter COVID-19 surge, demand for testing has dropped off in recent months from an average of 135 per day in February to 37 daily in April in Medford. Demand in Grants Pass fell from 60 tests a day to 13 in April, Asante said.

Also factoring into the decision to close the two drive-thru sites, Asante said other organizations continue to offer COVID-19 testing, and people have easy access to at-home tests that yield rapid results.

Households in the United States can order four free at-home tests delivered by the U.S. Postal Service by visiting special.usps.com/testkits.

Providence announced Monday it still offers drive-thru COVID-19 testing at the Providence Stewart Meadows Medical Plaza, located at 70 Bower Drive in Medford.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Beginning Monday, May 16, operating times will be reduced to morning hours only due to a decline in demand for testing. The drive-thru site will operate from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Saturday, Providence said.

“We are confident that we will be able to keep up with patients needing to be tested for COVID,” Mike Scott, clinic manager for Providence Medical Group, said in a press release.

Providence said it will continue to monitor the local public health situation and make any necessary adjustments to match the community’s need for testing.

Established Providence patients who need a COVID-19 test should call their provider to be scheduled for a test. Others can make an appointment by calling the Providence Virtual Sick Clinic at 971-326-8718.

A provider referral or Virtual Sick Clinic appointment is recommended, but not required for testing at the Stewart Meadows Medical Plaza. Providence staff are able to assist patients who arrive at the site without a referral or appointment, Providence said.

The company Curative offers walk-in COVID-19 testing at the Merrick, formerly called Inn at the Commons, at 200 N. Riverside Avenue in downtown Medford from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

To book an appointment, visit curative.com.

The Oregon Health Authority operates walk-in COVID-19 testing at the Jackson County Expo, 1 Peninger Road, Central Point. Enter through Gate 1. Hours are noon to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. People can register at labdash.net/, but registration is not required.

Other clinics and pharmacies in Jackson County also offer testing. Visit jacksoncountyor.org/hhs/General/News-Information/covid-19-testing-information for more information and updates.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.