ETSU Health to offer outpatient coronavirus testing for community

Published 9:54 am Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Patients required to call ETSU Health coronavirus hotline to pre-register

JOHNSON CITY — In an effort to increase testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Appalachian Highlands, ETSU Health has established a community testing site open to pre-screened and pre-registered patients.

Testing began on Tuesday, March 17, at the ETSU Health site, located at 325 North State of Franklin and are set up and open to members of the community. Screenings will be available to those who are experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus and have been screened by ETSU Health staff. Pre-registration is required for testing via the ETSU Health coronavirus hotline at (423-433-6110). The site will be open in the clinic parking lot Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration is unavailable at the site, and the number of tests will be limited in the opening period.

“One of the best ways we can mitigate the spread of the disease is to increase testing availability so that people who have a positive test will take proper quarantine measures and not continue to spread the disease,” said Dr. Jonathan Moorman, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine. “ETSU Health is providing this site to serve our community by lightening the load on our health care system and the local health departments.”

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Moorman, who was recently named to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s Coronavirus Task Force, hopes that the testing site will decrease the transmission of the disease by keeping potentially ill patients out of the area’s clinics where they could infect other patients. Similar mobile and drive-through testing sites have been utilized in other areas of the country.

ETSU Health is working with commercial testing entities such as LabCorp to provide the tests. The testing site will accept insured and uninsured patients, but again pre-screening is required. Moorman said, “Individuals will need to have symptoms consistent with coronavirus infection. We do not want people who just have a runny nose to take limited resources away from people who really need the test.”

Patients with symptoms will undergo pre-screening and pre-registration by phone, then be directed to the site to undergo nasal swab collection and testing for both COVID-19 and influenza. ETSU Health case managers will then follow-up with the patient. Test results may be available within 72 hours, depending on the volume of tests that the testing lab receives.

“Our goal is to slow down the spread of the coronavirus enough so that we do not overwhelm our health care community, as has been the case in other countries,” Moorman said. “Providing these tests will empower our community with more knowledge — and less panic.”

ETSU Health’s Coronavirus Testing Hotline can be reached at 423-433-6110 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.