BOONE — Appalachian Regional Healthcare System has outlined new testing procedures for those who suspect they might have the 2019 novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
If someone has symptoms of fever, cough or shortness or breath, the person is asked to connect to RelyMD online at relymd.com/covidarhs on a computer or mobile device.
"Please use coupon code: BEWELLARHS for your $49 visit," ARHS stated. "Your initial screening will be with a board-certified physician who will determine if your symptoms require you to be tested."
ARHS Senior Vice President for Advancement Rob Hudspeth called the online screening a safe option, rather than having an appointment in person, which he said could be available.
If the RelyMD physician determines that you meet the criteria for testing, ARHS says, the provider will help you make your appointment at an ARHS remote testing location in Watauga or Avery County.
Hudspeth and ARHS emphasized that people should not travel to the testing locations without an appointment.
At the testing site for the appointment, the patient does not need to get out of their car. The first test is a flu test, which Hudspeth said takes around 20 minutes to complete. If the flu test comes back negative, then the person will be administered the COVID-19 test while in their vehicle.
Hudspeth said that due to Centers for Disease Control mandates, a person can only be administered a COVID-19 test if she or he has a negative flu test.
If someone is administered the curbside COVID-19 test, the patient will be considered a "person under investigation," per CDC guidelines, Hudspeth said, and will be instructed to self-quarantine until the results of the test come back from the lab within three or four days.
"If your test is positive for COVID-19, you will need to be isolated for 14 days," ARHS stated. "The testing facility will provide education for you and your family whether you test positive for the virus or not."
For more information, visit apprhs.org/covid19.
Other testing options
According to the N.C. DHHS, those who have fever or lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days, or who have a fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) with a negative rapid flu test qualify for a COVID-19 test.
“If you develop a fever, symptoms of respiratory illness or think you may have COVID-19, please call your health care provider," AppHealthCare, the district health department for Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties, stated. “Call ahead before you go to a health care provider and tell them about your symptoms so they can be prepared.”
AppHealthCare asks that people inquiring about testing call (828) 264-4995, which is available 24/7, and follow the prompts.
High Country Community Health, a Boone-based federally qualified health center that serves uninsured and under-insured patients, asks that people call AppHealthCare.
The Community Care Clinic of the High County, based in Boone, asks that people experiencing any flu like respiratory symptoms, fever, cough or shortness of breath do not come to the clinic but instead contact its clinical staff by phone at (828) 265-8591.