A drive-thru clinic scheduled to open in Omaha next week was postponed when the city revoked the company’s temporary use permit on Friday.
In a letter to the clinic’s organizers, Mayor Jean Stothert cited concerns for public safety including “the ability of the Omaha Police Department to adequately prepare for necessary traffic control” and messaging that could mislead the public to think that the clinic will offer extensive coronavirus testing.
The letter, signed by Stothert and Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, states that the company can reapply for the permit once a traffic plan is made.
The clinic’s organizers, private health care companies Pivot Concierge Health and BANYAN Medical Systems, said in a press release issued Friday that “preparations are still ongoing.”
“The City of Omaha and Mayor Jean Stothert have been extremely diligent, responsive and helpful in addressing potential logistical issues and because of that, we anticipate the postponement to be short,” the organizers said.
The clinic planned near 84th Street and West Center Road has been promoted as “a convenient way for patients with symptoms to get diagnosed without leaving their cars, as well as for others to receive normal primary care in a safe, outside environment,” a press release from the companies says. It said the clinic will “expand screening and testing availability.”
Stothert said Thursday that she’s concerned “people will think that if they come and they wait in line, that they can get tested, and there’s no guarantee whatsoever — in fact, it’s unlikely.”
People who are screened for the coronavirus are typically asked questions about how they feel and if they’re experiencing symptoms. Those who conduct screenings also consider factors like age and underlying health problems.
Tests for COVID-19 have been available in a limited capacity thus far and are mainly being given to high-risk patients. Nebraska officials say they have the capacity to perform 200 tests a day between the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory and the clinical laboratory operated by the University of Nebraska Medical Center and its clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine.
The drive-thru clinic had been scheduled to operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Canfield Plaza parking lot at 8453 West Center Road. Two white tents had already been set up in the parking lot Thursday.
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