~ Press release issued by Valley Health on Oct. 19
WINCHESTER — Individuals with respiratory symptoms can now receive speedy, reliable point-of-care testing for COVID-19 and influenza at Valley Health Urgent Care centers and family medicine and internal medicine practices.
Valley Health’s new Quidel Sofia 2 test machines provide results in under 30 minutes. With a single nasal swab, the instrument can test for Coronavirus and influenza, as well as strep, if symptoms indicate.
Valley Health Urgent Care tested 400 patients using the new equipment in its first eight days of use. Last week, select Valley Health family and internal medicine practices began offering the rapid test to their patients.
“COVID-19 is still very present in our community as we enter cold and flu season,” said Valley Health Chief Physician Executive Iyad Sabbagh, MD. “Because symptoms of seasonal illness and COVID-19 are similar, it’s a great benefit to offer patients with respiratory symptoms a rapid, accurate test at the point of patient care. The Sofia makes it easier to diagnosis quickly, begin appropriate treatment, and, if indicated, self-isolate to prevent further transmission.”
Valley Health emphasizes the new test is only available to those who have symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat and headache. It will not be used to rule out COVID-19 in an asymptomatic individual or for testing prior to a medical procedure.
This is the latest enhancement to COVID-19 care implemented by Valley Health at its Urgent Care and select primary care practice locations.
“Our ambulatory team has worked diligently since early March to deploy telehealth and safe processes for COVID-19 testing and care,” said Dr. Sabbagh.
Valley Health’s Urgent Care centers offer on-line check-in for greater convenience. All patients and staff must wear a mask, and patients with respiratory symptoms wait in a separate room from those with other ailments, or may choose to wait in their vehicle. If needed, staff can also provide car-side testing.
The new rapid test is available at Valley Health Urgent Care’s six locations in Front Royal and Winchester (Jubal Early and Rutherford Crossing) in Virginia, and Martinsburg, Spring Mills and Ranson in West Virginia. Urgent Care Express locations hope to offer rapid testing at a later date.
All Valley Health Urgent Care locations and primary care practices also offer flu shots. The regional health system is vigorously promoting flu vaccination this year to reduce the likelihood of a “twindemic”, or widespread concurrent flu and COVID-19 illness that could stress hospitals, providers and available PPE resources.
Valley Health also reminds the community to remember the 3 W’s to help stop the spread of illness: wear your mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.
Those who are feeling under the weather can check into a Valley Health Urgent Care location online by visiting www.vhurgentcare.com, call their doctor’s office, or call the Valley Health Respiratory Care Phone Line at 540-536-0380, Monday-Friday, 8am – 5pm and Saturday, 9am – 1pm, to speak with a team member about their symptoms.