NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Sentara Healthcare will no longer offer drive-thru coronavirus screening and testing in Hampton Roads.
Sentara decided to close its COVID-19 drive-thru testing locations because it is still dependent on commercial labs for results. Those labs are handling an extremely high number of tests right now, and it can take 10 days or more to receive results and communicate those to patients, according to a Sentara news release.
Sentara Laboratory Services is working to launch in-house COVID-19 testing at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in the next week. Sentara may reopen drive-thru testing in the future, the release stated.
Sentara is still doing COVID-19 testing, but will not test everyone.
Sentara is asking patients to stay at home if they believe they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and have two of the following symptoms:
- Fever (100.4 degrees or higher)
- Shortness of breath
Sentara may direct high-risk patients to a testing location, if appropriate. High-risk patients are older adults and people with underlying health conditions. High-risk patients should do the following if they believe they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms:
- Call their doctor for guidance
- Those without a doctor can view Sentara’s virtual care options
- Call 911 if they are experiencing a health emergency
More than 1,200 Sentara providers are also using telehealth to provide virtual consultations to patients. Many insurance companies are also waiving fees for COVID-19 treatment, according to the news release.
These telehealth consultations are not strictly for those who believe they’ve been exposed to COVID-19. They can be used for basic urgent medical needs, medication refills, and chronic treatment. People can use telehealth even if they weren’t previously a Sentara patient.