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Coronavirus

Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital prepares for COVID-19 remote testing

Testing sites are not for walk-ins, only physician-approved patients

People leave the emergency door and head out into the rain Thursday past tents set up at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in Dekalb.
People leave the emergency door and head out into the rain Thursday past tents set up at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in Dekalb.

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DeKALB - Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital is preparing for remote COVID-19 testing, though it won't be available for walk-ins.

Tests will be provided only if approved by a physician first. A second tent outside the emergency room will provide screening for all who enter the hospital first.

Blue and purple tents could be seen outside of the hospital, 1 Kish Hospital Drive, Thursday, as Northwestern Medicine facilities across the region prepare for coronavirus patients. As of Gov. JB Pritzker's daily news conference at 3 p.m. Thursday, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in DeKalb County, though the total number of cases rose to 422, and three more deaths were announced.

The remote-testing site outside of Kish hospital is not intended for walk-ups or non-referred patients. Individuals who are concerned they may have COVID-19 should call their physician's office before visiting to prevent potential spread or Northwestern Medicine's hotline at 312-47-COVID.

It's unknown how many tests have been conducted in DeKalb County, though Pritkzer said total confirmed cases will likely grow as more tests are made available statewide. As of Thursday afternoon, 3,151 COVID-19 tests have been completed in Ilinois, up from 2,052 Wednesday.

Christopher King, director of media relations and communications at Northwestern Medicine, said the ten-like structures are in part to help protect the health and safety of physicians, nurses, staff and patients.

"The structures, next to a hospital emergency department, provided necessary temporary space to expeditiously and safely screen patients prior to entering the Emergency Department," King said in a statement.

"A second structure on the hospital campus provide the capability for remote COVID-19 testing," King continued. "These sites are intended for patients appropriately assessed and referred by an [Northwestern Medicine] physician."

In a joint news release with other Northern Illinois Rockford Region area health departments in Boone, Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson and Whiteside counties, the DeKalb County Public Health Department declared it "time to scale up our efforts."

The agency urges all residents to take steps to prevent further spread of COVID-19 by limiting physical interactions, staying home and not going out if you feel ill, and limit all non-essential movement outside your home.