EDITOR’S NOTE: Photos of the new drive-thru site can be found here.
Highlands Ranch, Colo. (June 16, 2020) – This week, UCHealth Highlands Ranch Hospital began offering drive-thru COVID-19 and antibody testing for the public that supports the health of patients while safely providing convenient services that allow for physical distancing.
The drive-thru site at the hospital, 1500 Park Central Drive, is open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., seven days a week. The site is located at the Emergency Department entrance/drive, with directional signage posted on Lucent Boulevard and Town Center Drive. Patients are asked to please wear a mask.
There are two types of tests available at the drive-thru: a nasal swab (PCR) test, which detects the presence of the COVID-19 virus in the nasal passages, and a blood test, which measures for the presence of antibodies.
“Many people are wondering if they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and have antibodies but didn’t have symptoms. The antibody blood draw test can determine whether someone has been exposed to or been sickened from the virus in the past,” said Highlands Ranch Hospital Lab Manager Sarah Miller. “The nasal swab test can determine if someone is currently sick with the novel coronavirus and is appropriate for someone who has symptoms of the virus.”
Either test can be ordered by a UCHealth provider for a patient, or anyone may select and schedule a test for themselves through My Health Connection after creating an account. The antibody test also is offered at the laboratory located inside the hospital. Hours of operation are 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Two options will appear in My Health Connection for Highlands Ranch Hospital:
- Highlands Ranch Hospital Drive-Thru antibody and COVID-19 testing
- Highlands Ranch Hospital antibody testing
UCHealth charges $100 for the COVID-19 antibody test and $85 for the PCR nasal swab test. While most health insurance plans will cover the cost of testing, patients are encouraged to check with their insurance company for coverage details. For more information, please visit the UCHealth Testing for COVID-19 website. The drive-thru site at the nearby UCHealth Emergency Room-Littleton is no longer in operation.
“Since before the start of the pandemic UCHealth has developed innovative ways to support and protect patients and employees. Our drive-thru site aims to reduce anxiety for patients seeking these tests while providing a safe and convenient option for services,” said Diane Cookson, president of Highlands Ranch Hospital. “People will now be able to have these tests done without leaving the comfort of their vehicle.”
Antibodies are molecules in your body that react to a foreign substance. If someone is infected with a virus or bacteria, the body produces antibodies to fight that infection, and those antibodies may still be present years after an infection.
The antibody tests UCHealth provides have been evaluated by the FDA and far exceed the agency’s requirements for accuracy and specificity. These are among the few antibody tests authorized by the FDA, and they are among the most accurate being offered in the nation. UCHealth did validation testing with people known to be positive and negative for the virus to prove the specificity of the tests.
“Regardless of what the antibody test may show, people should continue to take precautions,” said Sandra Fogel, manager over the hospital’s specimen collection center and a nurse manager for UCHealth. “Physical distancing, wearing a face mask and good hand hygiene should continue, because we don’t know if the presence of antibodies will prevent someone from potentially getting sick from COVID-19 again.”
For information about general lab services such as cholesterol checks, blood panels for pre-surgery, liver enzyme tests, newborn screenings and other necessary tests, please visit http://www.uchealth.org/services/laboratory/.