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MDH Announces New Permanent Building for Drive-Thru Screening Station

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MACOMB, Ill. – What started as a temporary solution will turn into a permanent fixture on the McDonough District Hospital campus. Following the August MDH Board of Directors meeting, the Board voted in favor of replacing the tent that currently serves as the drive-thru screening station with a permanent steel-frame building.

Hospital administration will aim for an opening later this year. 

MDH received three bids on the new structure. Following a discussion that lasted more than an hour surrounding the facility, the Board approved the project. MDH will use capital budget funds to pay for the new building, noting that a few other capital budget projects scheduled for Fiscal Year 2021 may have to be postponed until the next fiscal year, however the hospital will pursue any potential fundraising opportunities to help defray the costs.

The current 40’x80’ tent (rented out by MDH on a monthly basis), located in the south parking lot, became operational in late March. Inclement weather at times has forced the staff to move operations inside to either MDH or Health Services Building 2. The new steel-frame building, tentatively the same width but projected 20 feet longer, will have garage doors for entrances and exits, become climate controlled, and offer a permanent office area with restroom facilities for staff. 

As noted during the Board meeting, the current tent used for the drive-thru screening station has seen increased traffic in recent months. There were an average of 23 visits through the tent per day in June, 39 during July and so far 45 per day in August. The drive-thru screening station not only provides COVID-19 tests but the staff can also perform certain laboratory blood draws and will provide flu vaccinations this fall.

“I want to thank our Board for their strategic vision and seeing the need for a permanent drive-thru building. One thing we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is how much our community values a drive-thru medical facility. Our daily census at the tent has nearly doubled over the last two months alone. Having the drive-thru screening station available for COVID-19 tests and routine lab draws saves people from making a trip inside the hospital. Those who have mobility issues thank us for saving them a trip walking inside, their tests and draws are performed in the comfort of their vehicle,” said MDH President/Chief Executive Officer Brian E. Dietz, FACHE. “This new building will serve beyond COVID testing. We plan on offering flu vaccinations at the drive-thru location this fall, and now a new building will allow us to offer that service in future years. 

“The building expenses will be covered by previously planned Fiscal Year 2021 capital budget projects, as some items may get pushed back to the next fiscal year. MDH and our Foundation office will pursue any potential fundraising opportunities. We are thrilled to move forward on this project,” said Dietz.