Local Health Units to offer COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, U.S. health regulators OK’d the first coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home, a new approach that could help expand testing options in most states. The sample will still have to be shipped for processing back to LabCorp, which operates diagnostic labs throughout the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP)

Little Rock, Ark. (News release) – The Arkansas Department of Health’s Local Health Units across the state will offer COVID-19 testing beginning Monday.

Testing is encouraged for all individuals who believe they have had contact with or been exposed to a positive case as well as anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. Tests will also be offered to anyone with or without symptoms who lives in or has traveled to an area experiencing active transmission. 

Those seeking a test should confirm that the health unit is open and call ahead for an appointment so that staff can prepare and ensure safe spacing between patients. A list of health units is available at healthy.arkansas.gov/health-units.

Patients will be directed to self-collect specimens outside of the unit using a provided nasal swab and container. The specimens will then be sent to the state Public Health Laboratory. Results are typically made available within 48 to 72 hours, though it can take up to a week. Positive patients will be notified as soon as a result is available.

There is no out-of-pocket cost for the tests, but insurance may be billed for patients who have it.  

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