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'It was super efficient': Boise mom takes daughter through drive-up testing for possible coronavirus

Tonya Daniels took her 11-year-old daughter to St. Luke's in Meridian, which is now equipped for drive-up testing for possible coronavirus.

BOISE, Idaho — UPDATE: On Wednesday afternoon, St. Luke's announced that the Meridian tent screening facility is "experiencing high volume," and asked everyone to avoid the area if there is not a clear need for them to be screened for COVID-19. 

Anyone who does not meet the criteria for testing will be sent home to conserve resources.

Residents should only go to the tent facilities to be screened if there is reason to believe they have been exposed to someone with coronavirus or they are at a high risk when it comes to coronavirus.

Those with symptoms of respiratory illness and risk factors for COVID-19, can call the triage hotline at 208-381-9500 to be assessed over the phone. 


Idaho now has 9 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Idaho, with the latest coming out of Blaine County on Tuesday afternoon. 

As more cases of the virus surface across the U.S., some Treasure Valley hospitals are adding testing locations for people who meet the criteria for the virus. 

Imy Daniels, 11, started feeling sick at the end of last week, experiencing a fever and fatigue. Then, in the last day or so, she also developed a cough and occasionally woke up gasping for air. 

Her mom, Tonya Daniels, called a hospital to ask about treatment. 

“I originally called St. Luke’s who said, ‘Oh yeah, she needs tested, get her to her regular doctor,'” Tonya said. 

So she took Imy to a doctor where was given a mask and gloves before being taken into the office through a side door. 

She was tested for influenza, which came back negative. But Tonya said the doctors didn't feel a coronavirus test was necessary. 

RELATED: Latest Idaho coronavirus updates: 4th case in Blaine County confirmed, now 9 confirmed cases statewide

“And then said because she hadn’t been out of the country, that they weren’t going to test her," Tonya said. "The doctor’s office is only testing people who have been out of the country.”

That's when Tonya learned about drive-up testing at St. Luke's in Meridian. 

“So we headed there," she said, "and there were multiple vehicles in line ahead of us. They had everything set up where they were directing people, having them put on their four-ways."

“They had us pull up to a questioning station where everybody was in full gowns and everything,” Tonya added. 

Based on the questions asked, St. Luke's staff felt Tonya didn't meet the criteria for testing but Imy did. 

“They put a sticker on the window to say that she was to be tested,” Tonya said. "At the time we were at the check station there were eight vehicles, including ours. And only two of the vehicles, including ours, they ended up testing.”

Tonya said they were then moved to the front of the line where a nurse swabbed Imy's nose and they were given instructions for home care - and what to do should Imy were to test positive for coronavirus. 

“It was no more than 5, 10 minutes [for the whole process],” Tonya said. “It was super-efficient. They were really nice.”

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Not only is Tonya worried about Imy's health, but she also has to worry about her elderly mother, who already suffers from other health problems. Tonya said they all live in the same house so she's keeping Imy away from other family members while they await test results. 

“I’m keeping her currently quarantined to one room," Tonya said. "She is not to use the same bathroom as anybody else, obviously not supposed to use the same dishes, common countertops, anything right now.”

Test results will take four days to get back. Tonya added that she didn't have to pay anything upfront for the testing but they did ask for her insurance information. 

RELATED: 'People need to take it seriously': Idaho Sen. Risch explains how Congress is handling the coronavirus pandemic

Tonya told KTVB she received some backlash online for taking her daughter to get tested, rather than keeping her isolated at home. She wants to remind everyone to be respectful of others during this time. 

“Just please everybody, be considerate of everybody else," she said. "Don’t automatically jump to judging other people in this time, we all need to be there for each other.”

At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus.

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