COVID-19 testing: Latest from Cullman Regional

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CULLMAN, Ala. – The number of COVID-19 cases in Alabama reached 81 Friday, according to the Alabama Department of Health (ADPH). The ADPH has not confirmed any cases yet in Cullman County.

Cullman Regional’s Lindsey Dossey told The Tribune that test kit availability at the hospital is limited, but testing is available.

“We have the capability to test people in Cullman,” said Dossey. “However, test kit availability is still limited, and we, as are most providers, are trying to be good stewards of the resources we currently have by being judicious about who to test first. This is not intended to deny anyone, but simply intended to ensure that those in our community who are most vulnerable are able to get the care they need as fast as possible.

“If someone thinks they need to be tested, they are advised to call their primary care physician. In many cases, their physician is able to assess their symptoms over the phone and determine if they should be tested or not. If their physician feels that they need to be tested, they can complete a testing approval form and submit it for approval. Approval is received relatively quickly and they will be scheduled for a test at our drive-up testing site.

“If they do not have a primary care facility, they can call an urgent care or for more life-threatening illnesses the Emergency Room to see if those providers feel as if they should be tested.

“We understand that many are concerned about the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and what it means if you were to get it. Most people who get the virus do not require hospitalization and can recover at home with symptomatic treatment. Symptoms include cough, fever, and shortness of breath. If you feel sick, but can manage at home, stay home to help prevent the spread of germs to others.”

Residents who are concerned or have questions about COVID-19 and what they should do are advised to call Cullman Regional’s COVID-19 Information Line at 256-735-5530. The line is staffed seven days a week from 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

The ADPH advises, “If you suspect you have COVID-19, call the Alabama COVID-19 24/7 hotline at 1-888-264-2256 for testing sites and hours of operation.”

Private lab testing (The testing site at the Cullman County Agricultural Trade Center is NOT AFFILIATED WITH CULLMAN REGIONAL.)

A drive-thru COVID-19 test site has been set up at the Cullman County Agricultural Trade Center by local physician Jeremy Stidham. The site will be open at 8:30 each morning and will operate until each day’s worth of test kits has been used.

The site is not affiliated with Cullman Internal Medicine or Cullman Regional. Despite a campaign video published Friday morning, the site is not affiliated with the Cullman County Commission. The commission simply granted use of the facility.

The testing is not free. Patients with insurance will be charged $50, and patients without insurance will be charged $175 by the laboratory. The tests are being processed by a private laboratory in Trussville. Stidham said test results could take 5-7 days. Patients will be notified by phone of their results.

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Wendy Sack

wendy@cullmantribune.com