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Healthcare workers, first responders to get walk-in testing access through ChristianaCare

ChristianaCare is opening up special hours for healthcare workers, sanitation workers and first responders at its coronavirus testing centers.

The provider referral centers ChristianaCare launched in Newark and Wilmington last week collect specimens for coronavirus testing at commercial labs from those with a prescription from a medical provider and an appointment. 

But first responders and healthcare and sanitation workers no longer need to make an appointment for specimen collection during certain hours at each location. Those workers still need an order for testing, and should bring an ID and insurance card. 

ChristianaCare officials say the new policy is to make testing more accessible to these vital workers. 

“Health care workers, first responders and sanitation workers are on the frontline of this crisis and we want to support them as much as possible,” said ChristianaCare Chief Operating Officer Sharon Kurfuerst in a statement. “By providing them with special walk-in hours for testing, we are recognizing the valuable role they play in service to our community and helping them to do their jobs, which benefit us all.”

Healthcare workers can access ChristianaCare’s provider referral center in Newark without an appointment 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to noon Sundays. First responders and sanitation workers have the same special access to the Wilmington referral center 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. weekdays. 

ChristianaCare was the first health system to facilitate coronavirus testing on a large scale in Delaware, with its drive-through specimen collection event last month in the City of Wilmington. 

The health system acknowledges the turnaround time on test results has increased — and can now be as long as 12 days. ChristianaCare spokesperson Hiran Ratnayake says says this is because of demand. 

“As currently the tests are being sent to commercial labs, and as the pandemic’s impact has increased across the country ... the volume of testing at commercial labs has also increased significantly, and that in turn impacts turnaround times,” he said. 

Ratnayake confirmed several ChristianaCare employees have tested positive for the virus, but declined to specify how many or what their roles are.

Several Wilmington police officers have also tested positive, City of Wilmington officials announced Thursday.  Several more officers have been tested and are self-isolating


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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