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The Charlotte Observer – ‘Frontline’ of a war: Tryon Medical, Charlotte hospitals run COVID-19 testing clinics

The Charlotte Observer posted this March 18, 2020, story by Hannah Smoot on Tryon Medical Partners’ remote testing clinic. The clinic was opened Tuesday, Mar. 17, to expedite flu and COVID-19 testing, and keep Tryon Medical Partners’ offices safe for health patients.

Read below for highlights of the story, and please read the entire article on The Charlotte Observer website.

The Observer also edited this video in which Dr. Jennifer Womack of Tryon Medical Partners discusses how “drive up testing” works. Thanks to John Simmons and photojournalist David T. Foster III.


  • Charlotte’s Tryon Medical Partners opened a drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic at noon Tuesday — and the Matthews clinic saw nearly 50 patients on the first day.
  • Charlotte’s biggest hospital systems, Atrium Health and Novant Health, are both operating testing clinics as well.
  • Testing will be critical in blunting the increase of COVID-19 cases, Tryon Medical CEO Dale Owen told the Observer. Mecklenburg County announced its first reported case March 12. As of Wednesday morning, the county had 14 reported cases of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • “This is really a war,” Owen said. “It is a war against an invisible foe. And instead of guns, we’re arming the frontline people with stethoscopes.”
  • The clinic is open to the independent practice’s 130,000 patients in the Charlotte-area. The practice is also accepting new patients.
  • First, Owen said Tryon Medical is only testing symptomatic patients. Symptoms for COVID-19, the illness caused by the new strain of coronavirus, include fever, coughing and shortness of breath.
  • People with those symptoms should call their doctor first for pre-screening. Approved Tryon Medical patients will be given an appointment time to go to the drive-thru clinic at 630 Matthews Township Parkway in Matthews.
  • The team of Tryon Medical doctors at the clinic will administer a flu test first, while the patient waits in their car. If the flu test is negative, the patient will be tested for COVID-19.
  • Tryon Medical reported its first positive test of COVID-19 to health officials Monday. That person was tested in the parking lot of a different Tryon clinic before the drive-thru site was open, according to the practice.
  • The clinic opened at noon Tuesday, and will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. On the first day, Tryon Medical doctors saw 48 patients at the testing site, and collected samples for COVID-19 tests from 37 of them, according to the practice.