September 29, 2021
Media Contact: Breanne Forbes Hubbard, population health manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, 276-759-8297
Mount Rogers Health District Urges Residents to Seek COVID-19 Testing at Non-Emergency Room Locations
(Marion, Va.) – Mount Rogers Health District encourages residents to seek COVID-19 testing at locations other than hospital emergency rooms. Testing demand has increased across the region, as cases of COVID-19 are rising due to the more contagious delta variant.
“It is critical that we reserve our hospital emergency rooms and rescue squads for medical emergencies, so if you need a COVID-19 test and it is not an emergency, please visit another testing site,” said Breanne Forbes Hubbard, population health manager. “Testing is available at many pharmacies, local health departments, and urgent care testing sites.”
Testing sites in Virginia can be located at www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covid-19-testing-sites/, or by calling 1-877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“If anyone believes they are having a life-or-limb threatening emergency, the person should call 911 or get to the closest emergency department. These individuals will be triaged immediately by qualified providers, and they will be provided with a medical screening exam by a qualified provider,” said Dr. Clay Runnels, practicing emergency department physician and chief physician executive at Ballad Health. “If it is determined the individual does not have a life- or limb-threatening emergency, it is highly likely the wait times to be treated will be significant, as the emergency physicians and clinical team prioritize those with the most severe needs. ERs are not first-come-first-served, but rather, patients are prioritized based on medical necessity as determined by qualified physicians and providers.”
All COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious illness and death. While vaccination is the most effective strategy to protect individuals, families and communities, testing remains an important tool to help identify individuals with illness, protect those around them and monitor trends in COVID-19 infections.
The Virginia Department of Health recommends that the following people be tested for COVID-19:
- Those with symptoms or signs of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.
- Those who have had close contact with someone known or suspected to have COVID-19.
o Fully vaccinated people should be tested three to five days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, even if you don’t have symptoms.
o People who are not fully vaccinated should be tested immediately after an exposure, and again five to seven days following exposure if the first test is negative.
- Those who participate in activities that are higher riskfor COVID-19 exposure (e.g. travel, attending large events where social distancing is not possible, or being in crowded indoor settings).
- Those who have been referred for COVID-19 testingby their healthcare provider or the health department.
- Those who plan to travel or who have recently returned from travelwith some exceptions for fully vaccinated people.
- Those who are not fully vaccinated and who plan to visit people at high risk of developing severe COVID-19.
Those who tested positive for COVID-19 within the past three months and recovered do not need to get tested after exposure as long as they do not have symptoms.
Due to the current surge in COVID-19 cases, some testing locations may prioritize tests for symptomatic persons or persons with known close contact to a person with COVID-19.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccination, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine. For details on COVID-19 vaccination in Mount Rogers Health District, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/mount-rogers/.
# # #