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State updates COVID testing recommendations

The state released new recommendations Friday about who should be tested for the COVID-19 virus and where they can get tested.

“We want anyone who needs a test to get one. This is particularly important for those at high-risk for severe illness, those at greatest risk for exposure and those who are being disproportionately impacted by this virus,” Dr. Mandy Cohen, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services stated in a press release.

Beaufort County Health Department now recommends the following people be tested:

  • Patients hospitalized with symptoms;
  • Healthcare facility workers, workers in congregate living settings, and first responders with symptoms;
  • Residents in long-term care facilities or other congregate living settings, including correctional facilities, homeless shelters and migrant farm worker camps, with symptoms;
  • Persons with symptoms of potential COVID-19 infection, including: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell, vomiting or diarrhea and/or sore throat;
  • Persons without symptoms, but who are high risk, please call the health department or your provider.

Prior to the update, the recommendation to testing was reserved for those who had more severe cases of the virus and for the purposes of tracing the virus’ spread.

According to Beaufort County Health Director Jim Madson, the new recommendations could prove a bit challenging for the health department, as protective equipment for health-care workers is a continuing issue.

“We have worked with the medical providers in the county to help with the increase. Most providers will be able to test their clients; therefore the health department will not have to do them all. The uninsured can call the health department, and we will either help them find a location or we will do the test for them,” Madson said. “We are still trying to steer away from everyone asking to get the tests, but we certainly want to seek out those that have the symptoms to get tested, as well as those that have been in contact with positive cases, and those at high risk. … We have enough PPE for a little while and we are hoping that the PPE needed down the road is pushed to us from the state.”

Madson asked that people call ahead of time to schedule an appointment.

Those who now meet the current criteria for testing can be tested at the following facilities, according to NCDHHS:

BEAUFORT COUNTY

  • Agape Health Services, 252-940-0602, 120 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Washington, www.agapechc.org/
  • Beaufort County Health Department, 252-946-1902, 1436 Highland Drive, Washington, co.beaufort.nc.us/departments/human-services/public-health
  • Vidant Internal Medicine, 252-946-2101, 1380 Cowell Farm Road, Washington, www.vidanthealth.com/Locations/ Facilities/Vidant-Internal-MedicineWashington#
  • Vidant Multispecialty Clinic, 252-943-0600, 598 West Old County Road, Belhaven, www.vidanthealth.com/Locations/ Facilities/Vidant-Multispecialty-ClinicBelhaven#
  • Vidant Family Medicine, 252-322-4021, 151 Third St., Aurora, www.vidanthealth.com/Locations/ Facilities/Vidant-Family-MedicineAurora#

HYDE COUNTY

  • Hyde County Health Department, 1151 Main St., Swan Quarter, hydehealth.com/
  • Ocracoke Health Center, 305 Back Road, Ocracoke, ocracokehealthcenter.org/
  • Engelhard Medical Center, 33270 U.S. Highway 264, Engelhard, engelhardmedicalcenter.org/

PITT COUNTY

  • Pitt County Health Department, 201 Government Circle, Greenville, www.pittcountync.gov/229/PublicHealth
  • Walmart Parking Lot, 210 Greenville Blvd. SW, Greenville, www.doineedacovid19test.com/
  • For general questions regarding COVID-19, please contact the Beaufort County Health Department at 252-946-1902 or bchealth@bchd.net.