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Genesis sees long and unruly lines at Davenport testing site, pleads for calm

Genesis Health is dealing with a large demand for COVID testing, and some people have been aggressive toward staff during their long waits, Dr. Andersen said.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — In a statement released Tuesday, Jan. 4, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kurt Andersen pleaded for calm and understanding from the public as Genesis Health's Lombard Street COVID-19 testing site attempts to fulfill an unusually high demand for tests.

As of Tuesday, Genesis reported its 7-day symptomatic positivity rate was at a historic level of almost 40%.

The Davenport testing site cared for more than 400 patients on Monday, Jan. 3, and long wait times led to unruly behavior from the public toward medical staff. According to the statement, staff members endured yelling, foul language and even physical aggression.

Director of Primary Care at Genesis Health Beau Dexter says it's disheartening to see as staff continue to work testing sites. 

"We started this pandemic, and we're all in it together, and you know, healthcare heroes and our staff are amazing and wonderful. And just as the public is tired of this, so are we," says Dexter, "The staff have been working for two years, almost three, now, it seems, and are continuing to show up every day, and they're getting sick as well."

Andersen on Tuesday voiced his disappointment with the behavior and asked the community to be mindful of health care workers and all they have experienced throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

RELATED: Genesis reports spikes in violence, threats against hospital staff

"We will not tolerate this disruptive behavior from patients and family members," Andersen said. "We ask the community to please be kind to one another, and remember that we have to be in this together as we try to get through the challenges of this pandemic."

Although each test only takes a few minutes, the overwhelming demand for testing has caused long lines and wait times up to three hours at the testing site. Similar wait times have also plagued Genesis Emergency Departments and Convenient Cares as a result of the large volume of people seeking care.

Genesis also wanted to emphasis that its Lombard Street testing site is only for those who have a testing order from a medical provider. Some community members were upset after waiting for a test to learn they were unable to get one without a doctor's order.

"Expect long wait times, we're working as hard and as fast as we can. Especially if you're coming to the testing site, we really need you to have an order from your physician, that's important," says Dexter, "People are waiting here up to three hours and only to find out they don't have an order and we're trying to scramble to get them taken care of."

The Davenport drive-thru testing site, located at 1414 West Lombard St., is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Those without a medical order can find other COVID-19 testing options here.