EAMC asks public not to use ER for routine COVID testing

Published 10:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2022

East Alabama Health officials are again pleading with the public not to use either of its three emergency departments for routine COVID-19 testing, an East Alabama Health press release states. The press release, published on Thursday, came a day after the organization’s three emergency departments combined to perform 196 COVID tests, but only nine of the patients required hospitalization (4.6 percent). Of the 196 tests, exactly 100 came back positive for a 51 percent positivity rate. That exceeds the state’s current positivity rate of 42.3 percent, which is an all-time high.

“There’s certainly a need for people who have COVID symptoms that are severe and may require hospitalization to come to the ED,” stated John Atkinson, East Alabama Health spokesman. “But we ask that people whose symptoms are mild to please seek testing at alternate locations so that patients in need of emergent care are seen without delay. When the Emergency Departments get clogged with non-emergent needs, it creates longer than necessary wait times for everyone.”

The press release says that while testing was somewhat limited over the holidays, more testing locations are now available.

“Our collaboration with the ADPH and Lee County EMA allowed for around 250 tests yesterday, and we are working with them on several mid-week testing days for the remainder of the month,” Atkinson said. “In addition, our East Alabama employees will be providing testing on Saturday and Sunday throughout the remainder of the month, beginning this weekend.”

Atkinson noted that testing through the off-site facility at 2000 Waverly Parkway in Opelika requires that a patient have symptoms. In other words, no testing is available there for back-to-work or travel requirements. He stressed that appointments are required for this location and that anyone who shows up without one will be turned away.

In addition, the Auburn University Medical Clinic is now testing 150 to 160 patients a day Monday through Friday. To schedule an appointment through the East Alabama Health location, call (334) 528-4YOU (4968) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday. Call (334) 844-9825 for the AU Medical Clinic location. Appointments are made no more than one day in advance.

Below are locations where EAMC recommends trying for routine COVID-19 testing:

  • The CVS on Roanoke Road in LaGrange is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. An appointment is required. This location’s number is (706) 882-5564.
  • UrgenCare Clinic in LaGrange is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It accepts walk-ins. UrgenCare Clinic’s number is (706) 668-5140.
  • Mainstreet Family Care in Valley is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Patients register online.  Mainstreet Family Care’s number is (334) 756-0305.
  • Valley Area Primary Care in Valley is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. An appointment is required. Valley Area Primary Care’s number is (334) 710-0525.

Not on EAMC’s list is the CVS on Veterans Memorial Parkway in Lanett, which is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., on Friday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. An appointment is required. This location’s number is (334) 644-2807.