Parker pediatrics nurse testing children for COVID-19

Posted at 3:56 PM, Mar 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-21 20:32:09-04

PARKER, Colo. — At Mainstreet Pediatrics, signs at the door inform parents of the symptoms of the coronavirus. It's a reminder that children are not immune to COVID-19, but a limit on protective gear could slow down testing.

Pediatrics Nurse Practitioner Lorri Phipps owns Mainstreet Pediatrics. She said she didn't hesitate to begin testing for COVID-19 when LabCorp made it available.

"I should take care of my patients, and that's what I've been doing for 32 years, and I'll continue," Phipps.

But a national shortage of medical equipment has made it difficult for her to get her hands-on essentials to protect her during testing.

"I think all health care providers are ill-equipped right now from supplies: masks, gowns, gloves," Phipps said. "This is a necessity -- we have to have masks."

She says she has submitted a request for masks and gloves, and they are slowly trickling in. Before each coronavirus test, Phipps puts on a white jumpsuit, glasses, and a mask to protect her from being exposed to the virus. So far, she's tested eleven children ranging from infants to school-age kids.

"I have very little supply left of protective equipment for my staff and myself to make this through," she said.

Phipps began her career as a nurse practitioner in the Air Force. Despite her multiple sclerosis diagnosis in the late 1990s, she's refused to slow down, taking to the frontlines during a pandemic that's rattled the nation.


"Some were very clear," she said. "The family had been traveling internationally; the children were having symptoms, cold symptoms, fever, cough, runny nose, headache."

She demonstrated the test for COVID-19 and called it simple; she takes a thin and long swab and inserts it into a nostril.

"Up the nose but back far like as far, like as it can go, and then twist it a little bit to collect cells," she said.

The sample is frozen and shipped to LabCorp. It takes about four days to get the result.

The community has come to Phipps' rescue, many have donated masks to a nurse dedication to protecting the future generation.