COVID-19 screening facility will open soon in Tuscaloosa

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — DCH Health System announced Saturday that a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) task force is setting up a remote screening facility.

According to a news release, the facility will be located in a large parking area west of Dr. Edward Hillard Drive on the Regional Medical Center campus near the DCH laundry facility. One case COVID-19 has been confirmed in Tuscaloosa County; however, the patient was not admitted to DCH.

The screening services will begin on Monday, March 16 and will be offered from between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., seven days a week “until the need diminishes.” People who think they may have been infected can pull up to the facility and talk with a healthcare provider from their vehicle who will then begin a verbal and visual screening.

The screening will be based on the most recent guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including the following:

– 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

Depending on the outcome of the screening, patients will either be directed to the emergency room, their primary care provider, or to a tent for additional evaluation which could include working with the Alabama Department of Public Health to collect and test samples.

“DCH is committed to ensuring the health and safety of the community,” said Blake Lovely, MD, emergency room physician and medical director for the emergency department services at DCH. “DCH felt it was important to offer resources for educating the community, responding to questions and concerns and facilitating the testing process.”

The COVID-19 task force includes hospital leaders, doctors and nurses as well as experts on infection prevention and safety. According to DCH, the task force meets several times a week for planning purposes and to stay informed. Currently, patient visits at DCH campuses are limited but the campuses are open and operating normally.

DCH offered the following recommendations to stop the spread of COVID-19:

– Frequently wash your hands and avoid touching your face.

– Stay away from others if you are sick and only come to the hospital if they need medical care.

– Limit visits to individuals in the hospital, even if you think you are well.

– Avoid travel, especially to areas that have laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases.

– Sanitize high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, phones, keyboards, and desks.

– Look to the Alabama Department of Public Health or the CDC for accurate and up-to-date information