Area healthcare systems can offer support for people who feel they may need to be screened for the coronavirus.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services updated its recommendations Friday to say that people should be tested if:
You have fever or lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days.
You have fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and a negative rapid flu test.
The NC State Laboratory of Public Health, and some private labs are capable of processing COVID-19 tests at this time.
“The CDC provides recommended criteria to guide decisions on testing, but health care providers/clinicians will be able to order COVID-19 testing for individuals as they see fit,” NCDHHS said in a statement.
Medical professionals are asking people who feel they may be sick to stay home and call first to check with a doctor before showing up at a clinic, hospital or doctor’s office.
“Individuals who are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath should call ahead before visiting their doctor, emergency department, or urgent care. These individuals should make a point to thoroughly describe both their symptoms and their recent travel history,” Cape Fear Valley Health said in a press release.
Patients of Cape Fear Valley Health clinics and physicians worried they be showing symptoms of COVID-19 disease can call the CareLink telephone service for triage questioning before going to their clinic or physician.
“They should call if they are showing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and traveled to current COVID-19 hotspots, such as New York and Washington, or overseas recently,” Cape Fear Valley public relations coordinator Donnie Byers said in an email Monday.
CareLink can be reached at 910-615-LINK (5465).
Patients of FirstHealth of the Carolinas should also call their doctor first, and additionally have the option of using “FirstHealth On The Go,” a telemedicine service available through a partnership with Teladoc. People in the Sandhills have virtual access to board-certified doctors 24 hours a day through the convenience of a phone, tablet or computer with “FirstHealth On The Go.”
The cost of a virtual visit through the service will vary depending on a person’s health plan. To set up a virtual doctor visit, download the app on the Apple iTunes or Google Play store, or visit https://www.firsthealth.org/specialties/more-services/firsthealth-on-the-go.
Both Cape Fear Valley and FirstHealth extended visitor restrictions to their Hoke hospitals and facilities in other counties.
To protect patients, visitors and staff, FirstHealth asked the community to take the following precautions when visiting a FirstHealth hospital:
Only one visitor per patient
Please visit immediate family only
Please do not allow children under 12 to visit the hospital
Do not visit anyone in the hospital if you have come in contact with someone who is known to have COVID-19 or if you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills or fatigue
Remember to wash your hands and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of infections
Cape Fear Valley put the following restrictions in place to help protect patients and visitors:
No visitors are allowed in the Long Term Acute Care (LTAC) at Highsmith-Rainey Specialty Hospital, located at 150 Robeson Street, Fayetteville, NC 28301.
Also at Highsmith-Rainey Specialty Hospital: one visitor may accompany a patient to outpatient areas, such as ExpressCare, diagnostic testing or surgery, after successfully passing a respiratory screening to check for cough, congestion, sore throat, fever, or shortness of breath.
The entrance at the Cape Fear Valley Cancer Treatment and CyberKnife Center is only to be used for Cancer Center patients, visitors, and staff. No other patients, visitors, or Cape Fear Valley Health staff are to use that entrance for access to the rest of the medical center.
For all other Cape Fear Valley Health locations only one visitor is allowed per patient with the following exceptions:
Pediatrics/PICU: two visitors allowed
Nursing staff and infection prevention will work on a case by case basis with families who have special circumstances, such as a critically ill or end-of-life family member.
Patients and visitors are urged to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer or thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds to prevent the spread of germs and disease.
The North Carolina Division of Public Health has established a call line at 1-866-462-3821 to address general questions about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.