Niles Community Health Center offering COVID-19 testing

Correction: An earlier publication of this article used the former address of the Niles Community Health Center. The center is located at 1951 Oak Street in Niles. The Niles Daily Star regrets the error and is happy to correct it.

NILES — Niles residents will now have another location to choose from in the case of needing a COVID-19 test.

On Aug. 31, the Niles Community Health Center announced it was offering COVID-19 testing on its Facebook page.

Testing will take place at the center located at 1951 Oak St., operated by the Cassopolis Family Clinic Network.

The testing offered through Niles Community Health Center will go through Quest Laboratory, according to Becky Duckwall, quality manager, risk manager, compliance and employee health with the center.

According to Duckwall, the testing is available by appointment 8 a.m. to noon Monday, 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, and 8 a.m. to noon. Thursday.

The addition of the testing came in part due to the clinic’s own safety needs for both the staff and patients.

“We decided to start doing testing to help screen our dental patients, particularly those who need to have extensive procedures which produce aerosol,” said Mary Middleton, chief executive officer of Cassopolis Family Clinic Network. “Dentists and hygienists work directly over patients for prolonged periods of time. Those patients are not wearing masks, so the dental staff is directly exposed. After that, it became clear that not only could we screen our dental patients, but our own staff when necessary, as well as medical patients.”

Duckwall said that anyone could be tested through their clinic, not just existing patients. There was no need for a referral from a doctor.

The laboratory has a priority 1, for hospitalized patients, long-term care residents and pre-surgical. For these patients, results will be turned around within one to two days.

“All other specimens are non-priority and can take anywhere from three to six days,” Duckwall said.

The test costs will be billed through patients’ insurance, and otherwise billed through the lab.

“We welcome anyone who needs to have a COVID-19 test,” Middleton said.

The site becomes the second medical center, outside of Spectrum Lakeland Hospital Niles, to offer the tests. The Rite Aid on S. 11th St. also offers COVID-19 tests by appointment in its drive thru.

“We are also available for employers to send employees here for screening,” Middleton said. “We just ask that they contact us first.”

Duckwall said the center has a designated phone line for scheduling COVID-19 tests. Those with questions may call (269) 930-1002.

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