Gundersen’s new drive-up lab brings permanant service for COVID-19 and lab testing

Gundersen Health System leaders acheive goal of perminant drive-thru lab testing due to need during COVID-19 pandemic
Drive Thru Labs

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – There is a permanent drive-thru lab and COVID-19 testing site that’s out of the cold weather. Gundersen Health System is working to open the site for service Wednesday.

The address 1207 Mulberry Lane is where the healthcare routine, that was foreign, is now the status quo.

“We are moving from our tents to a temperature-controlled permanent structure,” said Cheryl Peters, clinical manager, Gundersen Lab Services.

Gundersen Health System’s new drive-up lab is something Peters didn’t think was possible.

“It was so far fetched that we didn’t think it would happen,” she said.

Officials had the idea prior to the current demand for the service. However, the pandemic changed a lot of plans and brought a new awareness for lab testing.

“We’re going to be all systems go for tomorrow,” said Shelly Niedfeldt during a training exercise of the new site.

The old retail store on La Crosse’s Northside was a building many people thought had no future. Now it has a new purpose.

“It was a really nice building we thought it really would meet our needs,” Peters said.

Peters and Niedfeldt help run Gundersen’s COVID-19 and lab testing sites in La Crosse and Onalaska.

“It’s been a great experience,” Niedfeldt said. “A huge team made this happen.”

These medical professionals worked together to blend the locations into one permanent spot for important services.

“We are the first of our kind,” Peters said.

Social distance operations are here to stay, so health experts asked why they didn’t have a site that was also here to stay.

“The need for a drive-up service wasn’t going to go away,” Peters said.

Routine labs, blood draws, COVID-19 testing, and flu shots are some of the things people can take care of without leaving their car.

Convenience, Shelly said, gives people peace of mind during an errand that’s not the most pleasant at times.

“We’re going to save them that trip into the clinic building and having to find that parking spot,” Niedfeldt said.

Just in time for the first snow, people have a place to go where the future of healthcare is here to stay at 1207 Mulberry Lane.

“It’s much more convenient for patients, and on top of that it’s safer for everyone,” Peters said.

Detailed information (Gundersen Health System) 

Drive-up labs can be scheduled by calling (608) 775-0950 or through a referral by a patient’s primary care provider.

What are the hours?
Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 8 a.m. to noon

What’s available?
Common lab services available at the drive-up include:
· Routine blood draws
· Specimen drop-off by patient (not currently accepting outreach drop-offs; examples: nursing homes, Neighborhood Family Clinic)
· Limited home testing supply pick-up
· Fingerstick INR

*Patients should have an appointment for Lab Services.

Flu shots and more
Patients can receive flu shots and important tests, like strep, without an appointment.
*If they’re not a Gundersen patient, we’ll ask for basic information, like name, date of birth and current address.

What’s the process?
Patients pull up to one of six check-in spots, call a number posted on exterior signs, drive into the building as directed, and staff arrives at their vehicle for care.

Important reminders
· Patients should have someone drive them to their appointment, if possible. (If they drive alone, we’ll ask them to wait 10 minutes before leaving.)
· No scooters, motorcycles or bikes are allowed.
· Patients are asked to leave your pets at home for staff safety.
· Smoking is discouraged during drive-up visits.
Be sure to confirm your lab order before coming to the drive-up location. If there are no lab orders in our system, labs cannot be drawn.