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Southcoast Health opens the area’s first drive-through COVID-19 testing site

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On Monday, Southcoast Health opened the area’s first drive-through COVID-19 testing site, in Dartmouth. The site, centrally located in Southcoast’s service area, is erected at one of the not-for-profit community health system’s ambulatory facilities that has been designated nonessential and temporarily closed during the pandemic.

Testing at the drive-through site is currently available only to patients who have been determined by a Southcoast provider to meet Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) criteria for testing, and who have been registered for an appointment.

Southcoast currently uses levels one through three of DPH’s criteria for testing in its hospitals, urgent care centers, and practices in order to manage limited testing capacity. For the drive-through testing site, it will use levels one and two (as level three applies to hospitalized patients):

Level 1: “Healthcare providers and EMTs who have worked in direct clinical care while symptomatic AND have fever or signs/symptoms of respiratory illness; even mild signs and symptoms (e.g., sore throat) of COVID-19 should be evaluated among potentially exposed healthcare personnel. Influenza should be ruled out prior to testing for COVID-19.”

Level 2: “Close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases who were present in congregate settings (example: school) while symptomatic AND who had close contact with numerous others; being in a public setting while symptomatic but without prolonged close contact to others does NOT meet this criteria.” Clinical symptoms include “Fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g. cough, shortness of breath). Influenza should be ruled out prior to testing for COVID-19.”

All patients will need proof of identity and a scheduled appointment before entering the site, which is currently open 8am to 4:30pm and staffed by Southcoast clinical support and security.

If you have questions or concerns about your symptoms, exposure, or travel history, contact your primary care provider’s office, or call Southcoast’s COVID-19 hotline at 508-973-1919. Do not walk into a Southcoast building without an appointment or without calling ahead, if at all possible. If you are in immediate medical distress, please dial 911.

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