OAK LAWN, Ill. — Like hospitals everywhere, Christ Medical Center and other Advocate locations have been preparing for an increase in patient volume long before word of the first COVID-19 death in the Chicago area.
At Christ, tents and a mobile trailer are up in a hospital parking lot — which will serve as an appointment-only, drive-up testing site.
It is not operational yet, but could be by the end of this week. According to a spokesperson, the hospital is still working through logistics.
Getting samples from people in their vehicles will decrease the potential spread of the virus.
A similar setup is also in place at Advocate Lutheran General in Park Ridge.
The stepped up testing efforts come amid word of the first coronavirus death in Illinois.
61-year-old Patricia Frieson was a retired Chicago nurse with an underlying medical condition. Her sister is hospitalized with symptoms and the rest of her South Side family is now under quarantine.
Frieson was initially diagnosed with pneumonia, and relatives had surrounded her thinking it was linked to her bad asthma.
The family is now undergoing testing.
The drive-up testing first debuted last week at Advocate Good Shepherd in Barrington. It is only offered to those who have appointments after contacting a primary care doctor first.