FARMINGTON – Franklin Memorial Hospital (FMH) would like to recognize the care team members who have been working in the trenches since March 16, 2020 performing COVID-19 swabbing to test employees, patients, and others in clinic space away from other patients in the Mt. Blue Health Center.
During that unprecedented time the testing clinic was staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, seven days a week. The hospital incident command system was activated and communicated often with staff and the community, working collaboratively together, staying nimble and flexible in terms of the approach, and ready to innovate at a moment’s notice when so much about the illness was unknown and changing almost on a daily basis.
After fifteen long, difficult months, new low daily cases statewide are a welcome milestone that reflects the progress Maine has made in getting people vaccinated, reducing the spread of the virus, and getting back to normal.
Over the next few weeks there will be adjustments in the hours of the FMH COVID-19 testing drive-thru clinic. With each passing week management will evaluate to see if the drive thru can be closed earlier, a decision that is dependent on the community’s need for testing. Currently pre-op testing takes place Monday-Friday 8-9 a.m. and Saturday 7:30-8:30 a.m. Drive-thru testing for individuals now takes place Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and Saturday by appointment.
FMH will remain flexible to ensure our patients get timely testing.
We may defer asymptomatic testing to the next morning when we close the drive thru early.
We may defer symptomatic testing until the next day, but will maintain flexibility to add someone to be tested if absolutely necessary.
There may be a time coming soon when we close the pre-op testing on the weekends and do this testing in a different location.
As we adjust the hours that drive-thru testing is open, we wish to share a few fun facts about our testing experiences over the past year:
- When at full capacity, 12 staff members worked at the testing site, and additional staff from Healthy Community Coalition and NorthStar were cross-trained to help out as needed.
- More than 20,000 patients have been swabbed.
- Those tested have arrived by snowmobile, dirt bike, tractor trailer, postal truck, and a truck carrying a moose.
- Medical assistant Emily Wiggins-Rider swabbed 168 individuals in a single day on Nov. 16, 2020.
- Our oldest patient was 100 years old and the youngest seven days old.
- The coldest day at the drive thru was 12 degrees below zero and the hottest day was 96 degrees on June 8, 2021.
Molly Chaplin, RN, nurse manager for Franklin Health, provided great guidance with flexibility for her leadership of the testing site team juggling schedules, informing staff of ever-changing clinical protocols, and ensuring that the staff needs were being met.
“I’d like to acknowledge the primary staff in this clinic and their contributions including Medical Assistants Emily Wiggins-Rider and Jacob Hanstein who were the first staff members to volunteer for reassignment to the testing clinic, as well as Patient Service Representatives Ashley Eustis and Betsy Dorr and Molly Mitchell, RN,” said Mavis Dubord, vice president of practice operations. “I am very grateful to have selfless people like you working at the frontlines. You are truly unsung heroes working every day to take care of each other and our neighbors.”
While the pace of those wanting COVID-19 vaccines has slowed considerably in recent weeks, the Franklin Memorial Hospital COVID-19 walk-in vaccine clinic remains open on Wednesdays from 8-11:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. For updates to the schedule visit: https://www.mainehealth.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19/Walk-In-COVID-19-Vaccination