WBRC reported a Cullman lady by the name “Cheryl” stated she believed her daughter may have come in contact with the Coronavirus while traveling to Tennessee and Georgia. The daughter is 29 years old and has underlying health issues. Cheryl said her daughter has been sick for two weeks. The article did not specifically name the emergency room or primary care provider but Cullman Regional wants you to know the protocol for testing the Coronavirus.
Lindsey Dossey, Vice President of Marketing said, the policy at Cullman Regional facilities only includes Emergency Department, Cullman Regional Urgent Care Center (on our campus), Cullman Regional Medical Group clinics. Our facilities utilize the CDC guidelines for testing which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/index.html.
According to these guidelines, we do an initial screening to identify if they have the following:
* Fever, cough, respiratory illness – all patients who present with this are asked to place a mask on to protect all other patients and staff.
* Travel history over the past 14 days outside of the United States to one of the known infected COVID-19 areas – China, Italy, Iran, Japan or South Korea
* Have they come in contact with someone who traveled outside of the United States to one of the known infected areas and then became sick. These patients are moved to private areas for further evaluation.
* Or have the patients had prolonged contact with someone who had a confirmed positive test for COVID-19.
If the patient meets initial criteria, we collect information and submit a “Person Under Investigation (PUI)” form to the Alabama Department of Public Health who then tells us whether or not the patient meets criteria for testing. Testing is currently only available through the state. There are a couple of independent lab facilities that announced they would begin testing soon. Therefore, independent physicians and hospitals are somewhat limited as to what they can do if ADPH doesn’t approve a patient for testing.