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Curry Health Network began offering COVID-19 antibody testing, and COVID-19 testing on an outpatient basis in Gold Beach, Brookings, and Port Orford on Monday, April 27.

As Oregon and the rest of the nation evaluate the safety and appropriateness of “reopening,” focus has been placed on increasing availability of COVID-19 testing, screening, and COVID-19 antibody testing.

“As supplies have become more available, Curry Health Network is now able to expand testing for our communities,” said CHN Chief Executive Officer Ginny Williams.

COVID-19 ANTIBODY (SEROLOGY) TESTING

Beginning Monday, April 27, patients who have seen a health care provider that has submitted an order for serology testing can walk into Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach, Curry Medical Center in Brookings, and Curry Family Medical in Port Orford to have the test, which uses blood serum specimens.

Antibody testing will be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Gold Beach and Brookings, and available Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Port Orford.

“Results typically can take a week to be received and they will be sent directly to your health care provider as soon as they are available,” Williams said.

Patients are asked to call 541-412-2000 to schedule a Telehealth visit with a Curry Health Network provider to determine if a test is appropriate, and place the order, if appropriate. Antibody response may not be developed until 14 days after the onset of symptoms. To be eligible to receive antibody testing, patients must not have an active fever, and must be free of any COVID-19-like symptoms for a minimum of 10 days.

Patients whose provider is not affiliated with Curry Health Network can still be tested for antibodies if their provider sends an order electronically to either Curry General Hospital or Curry Medical Center.

According to the FDA, COVID-19 antibody testing may indicate that a “person has been exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it, which may mean that person has at least some immunity to the coronavirus." Antibody testing uses blood serum specimens and is sometimes referred to as serology testing.

“It is important to know that this test does not diagnose active or recent infection,” Williams explained.

The blood serum specimens are sent to a reference laboratory and their fee ranges from $55 to $65 per test. Patients are advised to check with their insurance provider to see if the testing would be covered.

COVID-19 TESTING ON AN OUTPATIENT BASIS

Also beginning Monday, April 27, patients who have seen a health care provider and have an order to be tested for the COVID-19 virus on an outpatient basis will no longer be required to visit the emergency department to have specimens collected. 

Patients who believe they need immediate medical treatment should still present to the nearest emergency department. COVID-19 testing is designed for those who believe they have a current infection, and Curry Health Network continues to follow the testing guidelines established by the Oregon Health Authority.

Once an electronic order from the patient’s health care provider is received, Curry Health Network will call the patient to schedule an appointment for the COVID-19 test. Williams said the outpatient testing should be much more convenient for those not seeking immediate medical attention.

“Patients will be asked to remain in their vehicle for the test and our staff will come to you to collect the test,” she said. “You won’t even have to enter the facility.” 

Patients will be given instructions when their appointment is scheduled.

COVID-19 outpatient specimen collection will be available Monday through Friday in Gold Beach and Brookings, but with limited hours. Patients will be scheduled between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. at Curry Medical Center in Brookings, and between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. at Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach. Port Orford patients may have COVID-19 outpatient specimens collected, with an order and a scheduled time, between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Similar to the antibody testing, results for the COVID-19 test that are sent to the reference laboratory can take up to a week to be received, and the patient’s provider will receive the results as soon as they are available.

Also similar to the antibody testing, patients are invited to call 541-412-2000 to schedule a Telehealth visit with a Curry Health Network provider to determine if having a COVID-19 test is right for them.

“We’re very pleased to begin offering these new services to our communities, and we will continue to do so as long as supplies remain available,” Williams added.

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