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Planned coronavirus testing site in Omaha never opens

Posted at 6:20 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 19:20:25-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A drive-through coronavirus testing site scheduled to open in Omaha Monday never opened after Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert revoked the testing site's permits over the weekend.

"Nothing was coordinated with the Omaha Police Department, nothing was coordinated with us and traffic was a main concern for us," said Mayor Stothert.

The mayor said the companies in charge of the testing site stated in their permit that coronavirus testing would not be done at the site, but the media release the company sent out it said the opposite.

"We granted them the permit from the planning department," Stothert said. "The scope of what they were going to do changed."

Stothert said a major issue with the drive-through site, located at Canfield Plaza at 86th and Center, was the type of testing being done. She said this site wouldn't actually be testing for coronavirus, but would instead only be screening for the virus.

"I want people to know what they are going to get when they get to the tent after waiting in line for hours," Stothert said. "In this case they were not most likely going to get tested for COVID-19, they were going to get a flu test."

3 News Now reached out to Banyan Medical Systems and Pivot Concierge Health Clinic, the two partners on the drive-through testing site. They told us they would not comment at this time but are working closely with the city to get the site up and running. Mayor Stothert said the companies can get permits approved for the testing site if they coordinate with police and follow all protocols.

"They also have to be legit and they have to be honest with the public," Stothert said.

The staff at 3 News Now wanted to learn more about how testing could affect traffic and reached out to the Omaha Police Department for comment on this story. A spokesperson reached back via email and told us they would not be able to do a interview regarding this.