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High demand for COVID testing in Wichita; Here’s where to get tested

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County is seeing a rising number in COVID-19 cases, which is increasing the demand for testing, leaving many local health care centers overloaded.

“Everything is just getting bogged down and slowing down again,” said Sedgwick County Health Director, Adrienne Byrne. “I hate that for people because of the anxiety around COVID and wanting to know. We will do everything we can to help that process.”

The county is experiencing high call volumes due to community members wanting to get tested. Just last week they had open appointment slots every day, they were even condensing the appointments due to such slowed demand. Now she said the numbers went from manageable to unmanageable.

“When we’re getting 2,000 new cases in a week and a half, it’s slowing them down with being able to respond,” said Byrne.

She said the increase in cases is slowing down their entire process, from how quickly they can get appointments scheduled for testing, to delivering testing results.

“We’re bringing in more people all the time as many as we can get and find to try to turn that around,” said Byrne.

Byrne said if you call the county to schedule an appointment to get a COVID-19 test, you may experience a longer wait time. Callers have the option to leave a voicemail and the county is returning calls to schedule a testing appointment within 48 hours. In addition, COVID-19 testing results are being delivered within three to five days of a sample being collected. This week the county is bringing in 13-14 additional investigators to help with the high demand and will be requesting another 20 to help with data.

The county is not offering saliva testing through the drive-thru due to it slowing down the number of people who could be tested per day.

“We were doing both saliva, and NP swab for a short period of time,” said Byrne. “People would have to really create an account with the lab in order to be alerted about the results, that was taking a good 15 minutes at the site and so instead of being able to take samples from 60 people an hour through the NP swab, we were only able to do five or six.”

She said those wanting a saliva test can request one when they call to schedule an appointment. Despite delays, she also said if someone is exposed to the virus getting immediately tested isn’t always the best for detecting COVID-19. The best time to get tested is when the viral load is at its highest, which isn’t until day six or seven of being exposed, so it’s okay to schedule appointments a few days after exposure.

“I know people want to know, but the sheer volume is just overwhelming,” said Byrne. “Hang in there with us while we bring more people in and train them on our system.”

List of testing centers:

Sedgwick County Health Department:

  • Types of tests: Saliva and Nasal swab (rapid tests unavailable)
  • Who can get a test: Only testing those with symptoms
  • Drive thru testing by appointment only (may incur 48 hour wait to get scheduled)
  • Test results: Delivered within 3-5 calendar days (if tested on Thursday or Friday, results may take longer)
    • Results given by phone and through online portal
  • Cost: free testing
  • Call to Schedule: (316)-660-1022

GraceMed Health Clinic:

  • Types of tests: Nasal swab (rapid tests unavailable)
  • Who can get a test: No symptoms required for testing
  • Drive thru testing by appointment only (may incur 48 hour wait to get scheduled)
  • Test results: Delivered within 24 – 48 hours
    • Results given by phone
  • Cost: free testing
  • Call to Schedule: (316)-866-2000

Hunter Health Clinic:

  • Types of tests: Nasal swab (rapid tests available only if experiencing symptoms)
  • Who can get a test: No symptoms required for testing
  • Drive thru testing by appointment only (same day testing)
  • Test results: Rapid test results delivered within 24 hours, standard tests up to 4 business days.
    • Results given by phone
  • Cost: free testing, insurance accepted (no out of pocket cost)
  • Call to Schedule: (316)-262-2415

Immediate Medical Care:

  • Types of tests: Nasal swab (rapid tests unavailable)
  • Who can get a test: No symptoms required for testing
  • Walk-in clinic
  • Test results: Delivered within 4-5 days
    • Results given by phone
  • Cost: Insurance requested (no co-pay), $275 without insurance
  • All four locations offering testing
  • For more information: (316)-440-4595

For additional testing sites in Wichita, click here.

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