BOONE — Appalachian Regional Healthcare System announced on May 21 that it is an official testing site for COVID-19, and it has expanded the options by which patients can get a referral for testing.

According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 or who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should consider getting tested. If you are sick and unsure if you should get tested, please call your primary health care provider or your local health department to see if you need to be referred to testing.

Call ahead before visiting a health care facility so they can prepare for your arrival. If you are experiencing severe, life-threatening symptoms (for example, severe difficulty breathing, altered thinking, blue lips), seek immediate medical care or call 9-1-1.

How to Get a Referral for Testing

Step 1: Call a health care provider

If you do not have a provider, you may call one of the Appalachian Regional Medical Associates offices below or your local health department. You may also connect with RelyMD telehealth at on your computer or mobile device. Use coupon code “BEWELLARHS” for a $49 RelyMD visit.

Step 2: Provider will refer you for testing, if needed

If the provider determines that you meet the criteria for testing, they will help you make your appointment at a testing location in Watauga or Avery counties. Do not travel to the testing location without an appointment.

Step 3: Follow instructions after testing

If your test is positive for COVID-19, you will need to be isolated for 14 days. The testing facility will provide education for you and your family whether you test positive for the virus or not.

If you do not have a primary care provider, you may call one of these practices to schedule an office visit (in-person or telehealth). The provider will determine whether you should be referred for a COVID-19 test.

  • Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists — (828) 386-2746
  • AppFamily Medicine — (828) 386-2222
  • Baker Center for Primary Care — (828) 737-7711
  • Davant Medical Clinic — (828) 386-3350
  • Elk River Medical Associates — (828) 898-5177

You may also call AppHealthCare at (828) 795-1970 or the Avery County Health Department at (828) 733-6031.

Billing and Insurance Information

ARHS provider visits, both in-person or telehealth, will be covered by insurance just as a normal office visit would. If testing is needed, it will be billed separately from the office visit. The cash price of a COVID-19 test is $98.

If you do not have insurance, both AppHealthCare and High Country Community Health may be able to help. AppHealthCare can be contacted at (828) 264-4995 and High Country Community Health can be contacted online at

You can also apply for financial assistance with Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. Call the Financial Counseling Office at (828) 262-4110.

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