Effective today, St. Luke’s has expanded its criteria for testing COVID-19.
The health system will now utilize a broader set of symptoms to better align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated list of symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus.
New symptoms include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and loss of taste or smell. St. Luke’s will test people displaying a cough, shortness of breath or at least two of the above listed symptoms, which may also include a fever or gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, diarrhea or nausea.
Until now, the health system prioritized testing for people with severe symptoms—namely, a fever and shortness of breath—or close contact with someone known to have the disease. Others were turned away. Over the past two weeks, St. Luke’s Wood River’s drive-thru center in Ketchum has seen daily numbers of test-seekers in the high teens to low 20s, spokeswoman Joy Prudek told the Express on Thursday. Of those pulling in for the procedure, 50 to 60 percent received tests.
In addition, St. Luke’s will now require everyone, not just St. Luke’s employees, to wear masks inside its facilities. Masks will be provided at the entrance of buildings, or those entering already wearing their own mask may continue to do so. The mask requirement will need to be followed by patients, visitors, vendors and staff alike.