Many pediatricians don’t offer COVID-19 tests because of a lack of personal protective equipment, they don’t have relationships with labs that run the tests, or they want to keep the virus out of their offices.
“I think most of the pediatrician offices don’t feel that comfortable with the infection control processes ... and prefer to send them to hospital,” said Dr. Michael Handler, chief medical officer of the northwest region for Amita Health.
Pediatricians often order tests for children at sites such as those run by Lurie Children’s Hospital, University of Chicago Medicine and Amita Health St. Alexius Medical Center Hoffman Estates. But those sites, along with most others, have seen more people seeking testing in recent weeks as the number of cases has ballooned, which can mean longer wait times.
“The demand has skyrocketed,” Handler said. “We know that the numbers are huge, and unfortunately, it’s sometimes hard to keep up with that demand.”
Amy Rizman, 42, of Glenview, recently had to get a COVID-19 test for her 5-year-old daughter after she finished a course of antibiotics for strep throat but still felt ill.
Her pediatrician gave her an order to be tested by Lurie. She would have preferred Lurie’s Northbrook location, but she would have had to wait days for an appointment — keeping her daughter and 7-year-old son out of school while she waited.
She was told she might be able to get a test at a Northwestern Medicine site in Glenview, so she and her kids waited there in her car for 45 minutes only to be told that the Lurie order wasn’t in their system.
The next day, she drove to Lurie’s Lincoln Park location, where her daughter was tested while sitting in her car seat. “She cried for a second, but they were really good,” Rizman said.
Rizman received a negative result the next morning on the hospital’s electronic portal, took a screenshot of it, and emailed it to her daughter’s school.
Rizman considers herself lucky that Lurie was able to test her daughter so quickly, even if it meant having to drive farther from home.