QuickMed Reports 300 Positive Tests for COVID-19

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Of approximately 1,100 symptomatic individuals checked for the coronavirus by QuickMed Urgent Care over the past couple of weeks, up to a quarter tested positive, the company’s CEO said.

QuickMed, in partnership with Cornerstone CM Inc. of Poland, has conducted screenings at its Liberty and Cortland clinics, as well as drive-up testing in Campbell and Austintown, where it screened the general public as well as first responders.

The percentage of positive tests didn’t surprise or concern QuickMed’s Dr. Lena Esmail, who met with reporters Friday outside the company’s clinic on Belmont Avenue . QuickMed is screening to ensure that those tested are those who need to be. The company has evaluated more than 1,700 individuals though telehealth screenings.

Most first responders tested had a negative result, she reported.

“We’ve been able to screen and evaluate who needs tested based on what they do for work, their exposure level and their symptomology,” Esmail said. “The more we test and the more we speak to patients, the more understanding we have about typical symptoms and also atypical symptoms that rarely only present in a few of those patients.”

Some patients arrive with headaches, diarrhea, generalized body aches and fatigue, Esmail said. More typical symptoms are fever, shortness of breath and a dry cough. “Loss of taste and smell is a hallmark symptom,” she said.

To cope with the expanded demand, QuickMed grew from having two providers and three ancillary staff to five providers and 10 ancillary staff on any given day, Esmail said.

“The staff has been working overtime,” until 11 p.m., affirmed Michael Marantis, owner of Cornerstone CM, which distributes upper respiratory testing processed through Ten Healthcare of St. Louis. His company put on a partial shift to maintain a turnaround of 24 to 48 hours on results.

Cornerstone has also obtained additional supplies so that testing can be expanded. Drive-up testing is planned next week for Columbiana and other communities are reaching out as well, according to Marantis. Although noting is confirmed for dates and sites, he is talking with representatives of the cities of Warren and Niles, as well as other sites in Ohio, including Medina, he said.

“When the crisis started, we did whatever it took to acquire the PPE necessary to anticipate a pandemic. We took to Amazon. We took to eBay,” Esmail said.

QuickMed is also seeing patients who drive in for testing from western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Esmail said. QuickMed’s two locations are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. But the clinics stay open because of overflow to ensure people are tested if they need it, she said.

“A lot of people are driving 45 minutes or more to get tested and we’re not going to turn anybody away because of time constraints,” she said.

Several area nursing homes have contacted the two companies about testing at their sites and addressing those requests will be a focus over the next week, Marantis said.

“We’re setting up plans to help with that process,” he said. “Those patients are contained. However, if one of those patients does test positive, then the outbreak is more likely to spread in that contained environment.”

Nursing homes and other extended-care centers face the challenge of admitting patients because they don’t know if they are asymptomatic carriers, Esmail said. “All it takes is a nurse or provider to come in contact with them and subsequently come into contact with other people in that nursing home for that to become an outbreak,” she said.

Drive-up testing will take place 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the Firestone Pool parking lot in Columbiana. Required prescreening can be completed at Quickmed-uc.com or by calling 724-734-5235. More information is available at the city of Columbiana’s website.

Pictured at top: Drive-thru testing April 7 at Roosevelt Park in Campbell.

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Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.