UPDATED: Beebe to expand coronavirus testing in Sussex County


Beebe Healthcare is partnering with the Delaware Division of Public Health in developing a process to aggressively expand COVID-19 testing and follow-up care in Sussex County.

This process includes coordinating a multi-organizational partnership to expand mobile testing sites throughout Sussex County, with an intensified focus on the southwest portion of the county, where the virus has seen a spike.

With guidance from the Division of Public Health, Beebe adapted a care continuum model, and is the first to launch testing under this program.

“This expanded testing capability will help to reduce community spread by helping people better understand the actions they need to take to keep themselves and their family healthy,” said Bobby Gulab, MD, MBA, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Beebe Medical Group. 

The expanded testing plan includes three days of free testing for Sussex County residents. Beebe is collaborating with the state Division of Public Health, La Red Health Center, Westside Family Healthcare, Nemours Pediatrics and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Georgetown.

This round of testing will feature two types of tests: rapid antibody testing, provided by the State Division of Public Health, which is done by a finger stick; and the PCR test, which is done by a nasal or oral swab.

The rapid antibody test will be available to people who are screened and not having symptoms of the virus. People who receive that test will need to pull into a waiting area along the testing route to wait for their results (around 15 minutes). If the rapid antibody test is negative, they will receive a nasal or oral swab to confirm that they are COVID-19 negative.

The next stop will be a confidential meeting to receive information on how to keep themselves and their families safe. If the test is negative, the patient will be given information on symptom monitoring, and leave the testing route. It is important to stress that the rapid antibody test does not tell someone whether or not they currently have the virus. It tells them if their body is fighting an infection from the virus that causes COVID-19.

Those who are screened to have symptoms for COVID-19 will received the nasal or oral swab test. The results are expected back in four-six days, and patients will receive those results from their primary care provider or a Beebe Medical Group provider. The PCR (oral or nasal) test does tell someone whether they are actively infected with COVID-19.

“Sussex County has become a hot spot for COVID-19, especially in areas along the Route 113 corridor,” said Gov. John Carney in a release announcing his initiative. “We are working with community partners to expand testing sites and share educational information in those communities. It’s critical to protect your family and yourself by following the guidance from the CDC and the Delaware Division of Public Health. Most importantly, stay home. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to call 2-1-1 for more information and assistance. Dial 9-1-1 for an emergency. It’s critical we all work together to get through this.”

People coming for this round of free testing do not need an appointment or a doctor’s order. The testing location will be spread out near Beebe’s Georgetown Health Campus, but the testing route itself will start in the parking lot of JD Shucker’s.

The hours of free testing this week are:

·         Wednesday, April 29 from 10 am- 4 pm.

·        UPDATED TIME: Friday, May 1, from 12:30 p.m- 4 pm

·         Saturday, May 2 from 9 am- 1 pm

“It is the Wilmington Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s duty and privilege to work in partnership with local healthcare systems to benefit Veterans and the community. As an organization, it is Veteran’s Affairs “Fourth Mission” to bridge the gap into civilian healthcare systems to serve the nation and our Veterans during this time of crisis.”

“La Red Health Center is proud to partner with other community partners to combat the increased incidence of positive COVID-19 cases in Sussex County. We recognize the need for and stand ready to assist in aggressive testing and case management to contain the further spread of this disease in our community”. Brian S. Olson Chief Executive Officer La Red Health Center, Inc.

In tandem with expanded testing, those in Sussex County who are confirmed positive for the virus and need face-to-face care such as physician visits and lab and imaging services related to COVID-19 can then be seen at Beebe’s COVID Positive Care Center, which opened Monday in Georgetown.

The center was developed by Beebe to help prevent COVID-19 positive patients from needing to be hospitalized.

“The core of Beebe’s mission is to care for our entire community, and as the healthcare provider for Sussex County for over 104 years, we take that mission very seriously. I am so proud of my team, who has identified an immediate need in the southwestern part of our county and has partnered with the state and other trusted agencies to provide expanded access to testing, and has developed a coordinated network of care for coronavirus prevention and care,” said David A. Tam, MD, MBA, FACHE, President and CEO of Beebe Healthcare. 

The purpose of the COVID-19 coordinated care model Beebe developed is to tackle the virus from all angles; screening, testing, and follow-up care. The focus of the model is intentionally in the ambulatory (outpatient) setting, because Beebe’s intention is to catch the virus early enough to prevent the complications that can sometimes arise when the disease progresses to the point when someone needs to be hospitalized.

A certain percentage of hospitalizations are unavoidable, and so Beebe has been simultaneously focusing on strict safety and infection prevention measures at the Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus. When someone is hospitalized, whether for a COVID-19-related illness or not, there are certain scientifically driven protocols, processes and policies in place to protect the safety of both patients and care givers.