Kaiser begins COVID-19 testing at North Lancaster clinic

Kaiser Permanente’s North Lancaster clinic (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

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Kaiser Permanente will begin processing COVID-19 tests in Oregon and testing some patients at its North Lancaster clinic in Salem.

The announcement on Thursday comes after Salem Health on Wednesday stopped flu and COVID-19 testing at three clinics and in the hospital emergency room, saying it did not have the necessary supplies to continue. It is now reserving tests for people hospitalized with severe respiratory illness.

Kaiser spokeswoman Kimberly Mounts said Kaiser won’t say how many tests they expect to process daily because it will vary based on available supplies.

“We are confident that we will be able to process current needs, and are monitoring available supplies as demand increases,” she said in an email.

Kaiser can process testing kits collected elsewhere at a lab in Portland, Mounts said.

At the North Lancaster clinic, Kaiser patients and employees will need a doctor’s referral to be tested. The clinic can also collect samples for people referred by public health agencies, Mounts said.

They will prioritize people hospitalized or in nursing homes with symptoms of COVID-19, first responders and healthcare providers showing symptoms, and people identified by public health agencies who have been in contact with people confirmed to have the disease, she said.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander at [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.