Officials with USA Health caution those with travel plans to “know before you go” by getting tested for COVID-19.
By Casandra Andrews
With more than a year of pandemic living behind us, it’s likely many more residents will travel for spring break next week when public school students and staff in Mobile and Baldwin counties take a break from classes April 5-9.
Officials with USA Health caution those with travel plans to “know before you go” by getting tested for COVID-19. Advances in testing technology mean you can get swabbed for COVID-19 by a trained professional with USA Health and have the results of a rapid PCR test in as little as 15 minutes.
On Monday, officials with the CDC warned of a fourth wave of COVID-19 as the number of hospital admissions rose in 25 states last week.
COVID-19 tests are performed weekdays from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at USA Health’s Expo Hall location. No one can be admitted to the drive-through site for testing without an appointment and proper identification.
To request an appointment, please call 1-888-USA-2650. Phones are answered weekdays from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. You also can self-schedule a virtual visit with a healthcare provider, who can refer you to testing. USA Health patients can continue to contact their USA Health provider if they believe they need to be tested.
“We know many people do have spring break right around the corner,” said Natalie Fox, assistant administrator and chief nursing officer for USA Health Physicians Group. “We know they are going to travel, and we also know that the movement of people to different locations often causes the spread of many types of viral illness, including COVID-19.”
Besides knowing your COVID status, it’s also vital to protect yourself by getting vaccinated. Since March 22, more people in Alabama are eligible for the vaccine including those age 55 and older and those 16 and older with certain medical conditions including those who smoke.
With a steady supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from the Alabama Department of Public Health, USA Health’s vaccine center has availability for the next several weeks and options for members of the public to schedule appointments at the drive-through clinic.
Because of ample supply of the vaccine, Fox said, USA Health can give as many as 1,500 shots a day right now.
“Our goal is to get as many vaccines into the arms of people as we can,” Fox said, “as efficiently as we can.”
It’s also important to remember that vaccines don’t take the place of good judgment. To continue to slow the spread of the virus, practice social distancing, wash your hands and stay home when you are sick.