Nimiipuu Health Begins Receiving COVID-19 Testing Results from Mass Testing Events

Lapwai, Idaho- Over the last several weeks, Nimiipuu Health has hosted two COVID-19 mass testing events. The first in Lapwai on June 29 and the second in Kamiah on July 4. Between these two events, close to 400 tests were conducted. The test samples, nasopharyngeal swabs, were sent to an external lab for analysis. 


Original estimates for return of the results ranged from 3-5 days and later 8-10 days. Some results began returning on Thursday, July 9 in no particular order. NMPH staff immediately began calling patients whose result were received. At this time, not all patient results have returned. To date, all results that have returned are negative. This external lab is currently quoting a 13-day turn around for results. 


“One thing we know is, issues remain in the follow up and paperwork that must be completed before results are released. However, please know if there is a positive test result, the individual would move up on the priority list and be contacted immediately. Everyone will be contacted with their results upon receipt,” stated NMPH Medical Director, R. Kim Hartwig.


Testing in Idaho remains an issue. Although testing seems to be more readily available, there is still a deficiency in the capability to complete the testing process and get results returned quickly. Testing labs are also running swabs based on a set priority list; highest priority is going to hospitalized patients and medical providers, second is nursing homes and symptomatic patients, last is any other asymptomatic individual. 


NMPH is still offering rapid testing, providing same day results, to qualifying NMPH patients and Nez Perce Tribe employees that are demonstrating symptoms of COVID-19. These individuals are asked to call NMPH in advance so staff can properly prepare. (208)843-2271, option 2. 


“While we would like to test everyone, our testing equipment and staff only allows for an average of 18 tests to be run per day, as supplies allow. Additionally, we do not have the capacity to store specimen. We are privileged to be able to receive same day results with our current testing equipment. Based on this information, we are seeing that the most effective protocol for COVID-19 testing is still symptom-based testing,” stated Hartwig, MD.