There has been one confirmed COVID-19 case in Tuscaloosa County. To aid in preventing the spread of the virus, a task force dedicated to testing, treating and preventing COVID-19 in Tuscaloosa has begun to set up a remote screening facility at DCH Regional Medical Center.

The facility is located in one of DCH’s parking lots off Dr. Edward Hillard Drive. March 16 will mark the opening date for screening services. The tents, which are being set up today, will stay up and operate until the need is no longer present. Hours for this service will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

This screening facility will operate similarly to the drive-thru screening programs located around the United States. Potential COVID-19 carriers can drive up, speak to a screener and be presented with a verbal and visual screen right from their cars. The task force is operated by leadership, physicians, nurses, infection prevention, safety and other experts.

“DCH is committed to ensuring the health and safety of the community,” Dr. Blake Lovely, emergency room physician and medical director for the emergency department services at DCH, said in a press release. “DCH felt it was important to offer resources for educating the community, responding to questions and concerns and facilitating the testing process.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these guidelines for potential symptoms:

  • Flu-like symptoms, including fever and/or respiratory illness
  • Close contact with a laboratory-confirmed coronavirus patient within 14 days of symptom onset
  • Travel from an affected geographic area within 14 days of symptom onset

After the verbal and visual screening, providers will instruct patients to either visit the DCH Emergency Department or their primary care physician based on the severity of their symptoms and likelihood that they are a COVID-19 carrier.

DCH leaders recommend limiting patient visits to only pertinent cases to avoid congestion, but otherwise, the hospital is open and operating normally. DCH offered these tips to prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Frequently wash your hands and avoid touching your face.
  • Stay away from others if you are sick and only come to the hospital if you need medical care.
  • Limit visits to individuals in the hospital, even if you think you are well.
  • Avoid travel, especially to areas that have laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases.
  • Sanitize high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, phones, keyboards and desks.
  • Look to the Alabama Department of Public Health or the CDC for accurate and up-to-date information.
Categories: Archives, COVID-19, Local News