Blount Memorial Hospital will begin offering COVID-19 drive-thru screening and testing at East Tennessee Medical Group in Alcoa starting today.

The drive-thru testing and screening center will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, according to a BMH press release.

People who go to the screening site will not automatically be tested for the coronavirus, hospital officials said. To get tested, a person must have or have had a temperature of 100.4 degrees in addition to a cough or shortness of breath.

Doctors will decide whether a person should be tested — for either flu or coronavirus. The entire evaluation will be done while the individual remains in their car in one of the two available drive-thru lanes.

“We’re extremely glad to be one of the first facilities in our area to offer drive-thru screening and testing for coronavirus,” said Blount Memorial Chief Medical Officer Dr. Harold Naramore. “It’s important to know, however, that this is not a coronavirus ‘check-up’ and that we will not test simply because someone is worried.”

People needing to be tested will need to complete paperwork and present a driver’s license and insurance card. Tests will be submitted on behalf of individuals to insurance companies. Blount Memorial recommends checking with specific insurance providers for coverage details.

Naramore also said to consult personal physicians about whether or not to be tested.

“They and their staffs are ready to help you make the most appropriate decision for you,” he said. “This allows us to be ready to screen and test you in a specific way that limits your exposure, and that also helps us to protect our staff.”

Naramore said maintaining scheduled medical appointments is important to maintaining a healthy community.

“This drive-thru set up is for people in our community who are experiencing specific symptoms,” he said. “And we ask our community to help us be good stewards of resources and only come if your physician’s office directs you to or if you have symptoms that mirror our screening guidelines.”

Follow @sshreports on Twitter for more from county government reporter Shelby Harris.

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