South Peninsula Hospital’s walk-up Covid-19 testing clinic on Bartlett Street is set to close on Friday, January 13th at 5pm.
The hospital started offering walk-up testing in March of 2020 at the start of the worldwide pandemic under a tent at the hospital’s main entrance. It relocated the service in October of 2020 to the current location at 4201 Bartlett Street. Additionally, the hospital offered numerous off-campus “pop-up” testing clinics throughout the service area, and processed over 50,000 Covid test swabs during this time.
Demand for testing is low, there is now ample availability of testing services locally, there is easy access to free vaccines and boosters, a variety of effective therapeutics are available for the illness caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus, there’s proven infection prevention strategies and the current strain circulating here at this time is causing a milder illness for most people.
Covid-19 testing will still be available at the hospital after the walk-up clinic closes through the self-referral program “Request-A-Test” at the hospital’s laboratory. This service is for self-pay only, insurance will not be billed, and will cost only $50. In addition to a single Covid-19 test, a respiratory four-plex test for Influenza-A, Influenza-B, RSV and Covid-19 is offered, as well as other self-referred tests. A complete list can be found at https://www.sphosp.org/services/laboratory/
Most local clinics now offer Covid and flu testing as part of a visit for covid-like illness, which is usually covered by most insurances. Free test kits are offered at the hospital’s main entrance seven days a week, round the clock, while supplies last. Free kits can also be found at Homer Public Library and the Homer Chamber of Commerce. Free at-home test kits can be ordered online at www.covid.gov/tests, and they can be purchased locally, with the cost covered by most insurances.
Vaccines are also being discontinued, and the last day at the Bartlett Street clinic will be Friday, December 30. Between the community mass vaccine events in 2021 and at the clinic, SPH administered over 15,000 vaccines, including initial and booster doses. Covid vaccines are offered by appointment at all local primary care clinics, Homer Public Health and Safeway pharmacy.
The hospital re-opened all hospital entrances in November, and the entire campus went to a self-screening mask-optional entry, asking visitors and patients to mask if experiencing Covid or flu-like symptoms, or if having a recent known exposure. Caregivers remain masked for all patient care encounters. Pre-procedure testing is still required at the hospital for some situations, and instructions are provided at time of your provider visit.
Other changes effective January 13 include the discontinuation of the hospital’s Covid information phone line. Individuals are asked to call their provider’s office if they are in need of specific answers regarding their health, or the local public health office at (907) 235-8857. The weekly testing results from SPH provided testing will no longer be displayed on the hospital’s website after the closure.
For more information on hospital services related to Covid-19 visit https://www.sphosp.org/covid-19-information, contact your destination office in advance or call Derotha Ferraro, Public Information Officer, at (907) 235-0397.