By CHIP BROWNLEE and EDDIE BURKHALTER
If you do not have a healthcare provider, please call 1-888-264-2256, starting March 14 at 8:00 a.m. In the event the line is busy, please try to call again.
ADPH is no longer requiring patients meet a certain criteria in order to be tested for COVID-19. However, healthcare providers are the only persons who can perform specimen collections and request testing be completed by our State Lab.
The Alabama Department of Public Health said Monday that it is working with the hospital association and the medical association to open at least 20 drive-through testing and screening centers across the state.
Call the Alabama COVID-19 24/7 hotline at 1-888-264-2256 for testing sites and hours of operation.
Anniston’s Regional Medical Center opened drive-thru testing on Tuesday. A hospital worker said they’re only accepting patients who first get a doctor’s referral for testing. Anyone who believes they need to be tested is asked to call their health care provider, and if approved for testing, the doctor must call RMC and provide the person’s information. RMC will then call the person back to discuss testing.
BIRMINGHAM, UAB Drive-Thru: Beginning on Monday, UAB will open a drive-thru testing facility, but it will be by appointment only. It only has a capacity of 250 people per day. The first testing slot will be available at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 23. A hotline will begin operations Sunday, March 22, at noon to accept appointments. Please call 205-975-1881. You will be screened for symptoms.
BIRMINGHAM, Church of the Highlands Grant Mill: Closed. “We have closed our Grants Mill testing site for now as other sites in the area are opening.”
HOOVER: Ross Bridge Medical Center is testing, but by appointment only. Schedule an appointment online or call 205-92-COVID for more information.
MONTGOMERY: Baptist Health in Montgomery has opened a testing clinic on East Boulevard at Marti Lane. It is appointment-only. Patients with symptoms who believe they need testing can call 334-747-0150 to make an appointment. Patients are to remain in their vehicles while being screened and tested. After being asked a series of questions, if a person meets certain criteria the person will be instructed to go to the clinic at a specific time and park in one of 10 designated spaces.
HUNTSVILLE, Huntsville Hospital: A new fever clinic opened Wednesday at 9 a.m. at 120 Governors Drive. Visit their website for more details. Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
MOBILE, Springhill Hospital: Call ahead before going to the hospital: 251-344-9630. However, Springhill is not a designated testing site. It is triaging patients who present with coronavirus symptoms before they enter the hospital. If a patient meets CDC-specific criteria, the hospital may administer a test. “Hospitals have a limited number of testing kits. Our message to anyone wishing to help in some way is to please consider a donation of whole blood or platelets by visiting the LifeSouth blood donation office located on Hillcrest Road in the coming weeks.”
MOBILE, Infirmary Health: “For patients showing symptoms of COVID-19, Infirmary Health is launching appointment-only drive through testing sites beginning Monday, March 23. To schedule an appointment to be tested, please call the Infirmary Health COVID-19 testing hotline beginning Sunday, March 22 from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Appointments are limited, and the registered nurse performing the initial screening on the phone will determine whether patients need to be tested for COVID-19 based on CDC criteria. The hotline phone number is 251-341-CV19 and will be open from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily from March 22 until March 27.“
CITY of MOBILE: The City of Mobile this week said it is setting up drive-in COVID-19 testing locations that will be in operation when testing kits become available. The sites are located at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and The Grounds in Mobile. It’s unclear if they are testing already. “I am continuing to devote significant time in the effort to obtain test kits for the City of Mobile. There is still a shortage of test kits around the country, but the private sector is stepping up to meet demand. You can count on this: You will see more testing done soon, and more test results being completed by the labs,” the mayor said.
TUSCALOOSA: Beginning Monday, March 16, a remote screening facility will begin screening for coronavirus at a drive-thru site located in the large parking area just west of Dr. Edward Hillard Drive on DCH Regional Medical Center’s campus near the DCH laundry facility in Tuscaloosa. DCH Regional Medical Center is located at 809 University Blvd East in Tuscaloosa. Screening at the location is to take place weekdays from 8 a.m until 5 p.m. unless it is raining.
If a person meets the CDC’s guidelines for testing — Flu-like symptoms including fever and/or respiratory illness, close contact with a laboratory-confirmed coronavirus patient within 14 days of symptom onset, travel from an affected geographic area within 14 days of symptom onset — a sample can be taken on site and sent for testing.
Call ahead to your healthcare provider if you are concerned you may need testing. They will be able to tell you whether they have the capability to test you. Most hospitals have the capability to test, but many smaller urgent care clinics are not able to test at this time.
It’s also imperative to tell your provider that you are seeking a test and if you are concerned that you’ve been exposed or are exhibiting symptoms because they will need to take extra precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.
Two private companies, LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, are testing. Samples must be taken by a person’s healthcare provider, however, then sent to LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics labs.
If you or someone you know experiences a medical emergency suspected to be related to COVID-19, please call 911 and let the dispatch agent know that the emergency is related to possible COVID-19-related symptoms. This will help them be properly prepared to care for you and help ensure the safety of others by preventing spread of the virus.