In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, East Alabama Medical Center announced that it is receiving a high volume of calls and filling up every time slot for its drive-thu testing center.
The hospital has 12 people working at its call center. It has received 1,000 calls since Friday and 275 calls on Tuesday alone, according to John Atkinson, EAMC’s public relations and marketing director. Some calls, he said, are not making it through because of the volume.
The drive-thru testing center’s 40 time slots for Monday and 60 for Tuesday were filled, he said.
Here are steps people can take to help with the large number of calls and with the large requests for testing:
- People who have mild symptoms should treat COVID-19 the same way they would the seasonal flu: isolate themselves and treat themselves with over-the-counter medicine.
- The hospital has previously stated that this is important because of the large number of people who have or will have serious illnesses from COVID-19; they are the ones that EAMC will have to prioritize treatment for.
- People who feel they need medical attention should contact their primary care physician or other local provider, EAMC said.
- If the medical provider determines a COVID-19 test is warranted, they will collect the specimen there and submit it to the Alabama Department of Public Health or to an independent lab.
- If the physician’s office is out of supplies or does not have the ability to collect specimens, the patient can call EAMC at 334-528-SICK for evaluation.
- People should call 334-528-SICK if they have COVID-19 symptoms and if they believe possible emergency care is needed.
- EAMC said calls to 334-528-SICK do not guarantee a COVID-19 specimen will be collected and submitted for testing. Instead, patients will be screened on the phone. If the medical provider on the phone determines a COVID-19 test is warranted, directions will be provided on going to EAMC’s drive-thru collection center.
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