CABELL COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Starting Friday, March 20th Valley Health will launch telehealth services to assess patients’ needs for COVID-19 testing. This is just one part of their newest health care plan.
“For those patients, they will have an audio-visual visit with their provider and based on their circumstances and the nature of their symptoms and exposure risk they may get tested in a drive-thru tent for COVID-19,” says Dr. Mathew Weimer, VP of health services and chief medical officer of health for Valley Health Systems.
Big white tents in the East Huntington building parking lot will soon serve as an exam room for some patients during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“If patients are directed to go through the drive-thru process they will arrive, we will verify that the patient does have an order in the health record we will then be conducting a number of tests including flu and strep if appropriate, based on the results of those tests including the medical evaluation we will then determine if we need to proceed for Covid-19 testing,” says Rachel Marino, chief of staff.
WVU Medicine has also opened drive-thru testing points in Morgantown, Parkersburg, Bridgeport, Wheeling, and Martinsburg.
The big white tents aren’t the only precautionary step the center has taken. When you arrive you are greeted by medical personnel who first check your temperature and ask you about possible COVID-19 exposure and risk.
“We are directing patients to different areas so we aren’t mixing sick people with well people,” says Weimer.
Tests and personal protective gear are very limited at this time. Weimer says it’s important to remember that not everyone needs to be tested.
“For a lot of people with a mild illness it’s perfectly acceptable and a really good idea to stay home and self-quarantine and self-isolate, treat your symptoms and monitor for any worsening. if you get to a point where you have to be seen by health care provider call ahead and get advice. , but if you’re not that sick whether it could be COVID-19 or not, you don’t necessarily need a test. What you do need to do is take care of yourself,” adds Weimer.
Valley Health will eventually open telehealth – by phone and online – for all patients to help with social distancing.