By Tyler Greer
Birmingham-area hospitals and the Jefferson County Department of Health announced last week their first appointment-based community coronavirus testing site — the Downtown COVID-19 Testing Site, which began seeing patients by appointment only on March 23. The site is sponsored by UAB Medicine and the JCDH.
Those who have symptoms of COVID-19 — cough, fever or shortness of breath — or believe they may have had contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 can call 205-975-1881 and be screened by a medical provider. The provider will then schedule an appointment time for testing at the downtown site if the caller has a positive screen for COVID-19 symptoms. The testing site will be located at the corner of University Boulevard and 22nd Street South.
Those who believe they need a test can call 205-975-1881 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. to schedule appointments at the Downtown Testing Site. Appointments will be scheduled from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. seven days a week. Those who are given appointments will be asked to arrive no more than 15 minutes before their scheduled appointment time and to follow the detailed instructions located on-site.
The site is appointment-based to help with easy access and to avoid traffic delays and long wait lines for those coming for testing. It is expected there will be a high-volume of calls as the site ramps up, and the public’s patience with the call center is appreciated.
“We are working hard as a community to bring more testing sites online as more laboratories, including UAB’s testing lab, are able to offer the COVID-19 test,” said Mark Wilson, CEO of the Jefferson County Health Department. “We appreciate the public’s patience as we work to make this and other sites operational.”
The on-site instructions for the Downtown Testing Site include:
- You must have an appointment to be tested.
- You must have a cell phone to communicate with staff at the testing site.
- Tune your radio to 90.7 FM for important testing instructions.
- Do not roll down your window until instructed to do so.
- Stay inside your vehicle.
Testing results from the Downtown Site should be available in 3-4 days. Anyone who is given an appointment to be tested should remain self-quarantined until they receive their results and maintain social distancing even if result of the test is negative.
The Jefferson County Department of Health has announced that all gatherings of 10 persons or more, or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent 6-foot distance between persons, are prohibited until further notice.
The Jefferson County Department of Health is identifying other key locations in the county to potentially add additional sampling sites with local hospitals, laboratories and medical professionals in the next days and, possibly, weeks.