Otto Kaiser providing COVID-19 tests

Lab Manager Skye Acker prepares to wrap up testing at Otto Kaiser Memorial Hospital recently. Equipped with a positive pressure airway helmet, Skye administers COVID-19 tests to patients with appointments.

KENEDY – Since the COVID-19 virus threat began in March, Otto Kaiser has provided its patients with easily-available tests.

Skye Acker, has been the lab manager at Otto Kaiser for six years and administers the tests.

“We have been offering send out versions since the end of March,” Acker said. “Everyday we have been averaging ten to twenty tests per day. The most we’ve had was 27 outpatients in one day.”

Located on the backside of the Bonnstetter Building, patients with appointments park in a designated spot and wait for assistance.

“I’m usually always by the window, so I can see patients arrive,” Acker said. “They park outside and I go out there asking basic questions.

Since the beginning of offering COVID tests to patients, the tests have been and currently are naso pharyngeal specimen.

“The nasal test is preferred because that is where the majority of heavy concentration of the virus sits,” Acker said. “That is the best place to test and have the best chances of not getting a false negative test.”

The lab offers antibody tests as well for patients.

“The antibody test is available for anyone,” Acker said. “They have to come into the lab for that one.”

Karnes County recently hosted a COVID testing event at the Bonstetter Building where the military administers the latest oral swab test.

“As of now we don’t have that,” Acker said.

There are a few steps for patients when preparing for taking a COVID test.

“People always ask what they need to do in the time between taking the test and getting the results,” Acker said. “They should quarantine until they receive the results of the test. Once they get the results, they can call their physician for more information.”

What can patients expect for discomfort, if any, while getting a test taken?

“A lot of patients thought the test would hurt,” Acker said. “Everyone is different of course, but a lot of patients came in with anxiety about the test. It’s really just uncomfortable and not painful at all. It’s hard to explain to children, but we have good reactions with most people.”

Currently, the hospital continues to seek providing the community with COVID tests.

“Right now it’s indefinitely until the orders from the state change,” Acker said. “We don’t plan on stopping to do this in the foreseeable future. We want to keep our patients as safe as possible.”

*EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been corrected from the print edition and online story. The quote from Skye Ackers is accurately stated as: “That is the best place to test and have the best chances of not getting a false negative test.”

Chris Filoteo is the editor at the Countywide and can be reached at 830-254-8088, or at karnes@mySouTex.com.

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