Some testing for COVID-19 begins for Mobile and Baldwin Counties

Coronavirus

UPDATE (12:02 p.m.) — There will be two testing sites in Baldwin County. The locations are undisclosed at this time.

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Testing for COVID-19 is set to begin at three sites in Mobile County Monday morning.

There are two cases of coronavirus in Mobile County, two in Baldwin, and one in Washington as of Friday, March 20. Three of those new cases were announced on Friday.

Infirmary Health is launching appointment-only drive through testing sites. To schedule an appointment, you’re asked to call the Infirmary Health COVID-19 testing hotline from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. March 22 – March 27. The hotline phone number is (251) 341-CV19 (2819). The testing site in Mobile will be open Monday and a spokesman said the site in Baldwin will be run Tuesday and Wednesday.

Appointment qualifiers must be Mobile or Baldwin County residents only. They must have a valid ID and be over the age of 18. The patient must meet the CDC criteria to receive the test, if they do, they will be given an appointment location and time. The patient will drive up to the site and stay in their car to be tested.

FULL QUALIFIERS:

  • 1. Mobile or Baldwin County residents only. Must have valid ID and be over the age of 18.
  • 2. If the patient meets the CDC criteria to be tested, they will receive an appointment location and time.
  • 3. The test will be administered in the car. Remain in your vehicle. 4. A clinician will assess symptoms and administer test if needed.
  • 5. Once swabbed, the patient will receive clear next steps from the medical provider.

Infirmary Mobile said the testing situation is fluid so they do not know exactly how many people they’ll be able to test but say appointments are on a first come first serve basis. The clinic sites will run from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Monday, March 23 – Wednesday, March 25.

There is also on-site testing being offered at an urgent care clinic in West Mobile and Semmes.

Greater Mobile Urgent Care is the first urgent care facility to offer on-site testing for the novel coronavirus.

The original plan was to just offer the drive-thru testing at their West Mobile location, but Dr. Darren Waters says the response for testing was so great before they even began administering the tests, they started a second drive-thru testing site at their Semmes facility.

“By 9 this morning, we had about 100 phone calls,” said Dr. Waters, the Medical Director and a doctor at Greater Mobile Urgent Care.

Dozens of people showed up to get tested for COVID-19 Monday morning at the West Mobile facility.

“We probably have a few thousand we can do. Really our rate-limiting steps is the personal protective equipment that everyone is trying to get. As everybody knows, the N95 masks, the face shields, they’re all limited,” said Dr. Waters.

Anyone who qualifies can be tested at the urgent care facilities in either Mobile or Semmes, they first need to call a hotline to be screened.

Dr. Darren Waters has told News 5 they have a Telehealth line set up in response to the community need for testing. Patients can call (251) 633-0123, and hit *, to receive physician advice and be scheduled for COVID-19 testing.

If you meet the CDC criteria, you will be given an appointment time to go get tested.

“You basically drive right up to our porte-cochère, we have the nurses come out in full protective gear and they do the swabs, and you leave. We’ll give you a call once we get the results back,” said Dr. Waters.

It takes a few days to get the results for coronavirus back, but Dr. Waters says it is imperative to get these tests done.

“We’re behind the 8-ball. We need to know how many people out there have the coronavirus. You can’t do all of your statistics and find out the mortality rate and how many you have in a community and what you need to do until you start to find out how many people are out there. We need to test and test as much as we can,” said Dr. Waters.

In the meantime, doctors advise everyone who can, to stay home.

“People need to heed the warning of self-isolation, if you don’t do that, this is not going to go away. You don’t need to panic, but this is a virus that is very contagious and very serious,” said Dr. Waters.

Patients can call from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday – Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends. The testing will take place outside the West Mobile clinic at 2350 Schillinger Road. This is separate from the facilities’ daily patients being seen. Screenings will determine whether a patient needs testing for COVID-19. 

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