Outer Banks Hospital: Screening for coronavirus taking place at ER, urgent care centers

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A Message to Outer Banks Residents and Visitors,

Thank you for your patience in hearing from us. As healthcare providers, we have been on the front lines of this public health event. Our preparation and response has been in tight collaboration with the Dare County Department of Public Health and Vidant Health.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, we have been screening patients in our Urgent Care Centers and Emergency Department for the need for coronavirus testing using the NCDHHS guidelines posted at ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina/testing-covid-19.

Patients must meet these criteria to be tested for coronavirus. If a patient meets the criteria to be tested for coronavirus, samples are sent to the state lab or private labs for presumptive testing.

We have sent several samples for testing, and we are collaborating with the Dare County Department of Public Health on all fronts. For up to date information about local data, please use the NC Department of Health and Human Services website at ncdhhs.gov/covid-19-case-count-nc.

Our Urgent Care Centers and Emergency Department are the right place to go for care if you think you might have the coronavirus. Please call before you come if you suspect you may have coronavirus. That way, we can screen you over the phone and be prepared for you when you arrive. Also, it is important to note that Outer Banks Medical Group primary care offices are not set up to send patients for testing, so please use our Urgent Care Centers or Emergency Department.

You can also be screened by a doctor via phone or video by using VidantNow (visit www.vidantnow.com or download the VidnatNow app on your smartphone). Google is also coming out with a self-screening tool shortly. This will help alleviate some fears and also help our healthcare facilities provide care to the people who need it most.

In the event that the virus becomes present in our community, most patients would have minor symptoms and we would treat those here locally and in collaboration with public health home isolation orders. We would transfer patients who need intensive care to another facility.

The current containment orders are important and in place to avoid widespread outbreak. In the unlikely event of a widespread outbreak, the new Executive Order from the White House does allow us to expand our bed capacity and resources should the Outer Banks Hospital be needed to meet the demand for an abundance of patients.

Now and always – continue to wash your hands often with soap and water and avoid touching your face. Stay home when you are sick and in terms of coronavirus, seek medical screening and/or care if you have fever with respiratory symptoms such as cough and/or shortness of breath.

With your help in containing the spread of the virus, we will get through this and be back to normal life in no time.

Ronnie Sloan, President
The Outer Banks Hospital

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.

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