LOWVILLE — A clinic and hotline focused on answering questions and identifying potential cases of COVID-19 have been established by the Lewis County Healthcare System.

The “Call First Clinic” is dedicated to people who are having flu-like symptoms including those that could be caused by the new coronovirus, like a fever, cough and shortness of breath, in order to ensure the emergency room and local healthcare providers aren’t overwhelmed with cases potentially related to the pandemic.

The clinic also will help reduce exposure of people in the general population to those with symptoms or other cornovirus risk factors.

People with those symptoms, who have had contact with someone confirmed to have the virus or were in an area with COVID-19 cases can call the new 24-hour public hotline created to screen people and set up appointments for the Call First Clinic.

The hotline became operational on Wednesday and is staffed by a registered nurse at all times who is also available to answer any questions the public may have about the novel coronavirus.

Patients given appointments at the clinic will be asked to wait in their cars to be brought into the building when a consultation room is available as a precaution, rather than in the waiting room with other potentially sick people, according to Health System spokesperson Christina Flint.

To accommodate this process, the hospital campus’ main driveway with access from North State Street/State Route 26 is now a one-way road onto the campus. Exit from the property will only be allowed beyond the back parking lots onto Number Three Road.

The Call First Clinic is located in what was the dermatology clinic until earlier this month, on the ground floor with its own dedicated entrance on the side of the building, just after the sharp right turn in the driveway on the right side of the road while heading up the hill.

Although all of the parking spots are marked for handicap use, there are now signs indicating those spots are only for clinic use.

No walk-ins will be allowed at the clinic, and people who arrive hoping to be seen without an appointment will be directed to one of the designated parking spaces and asked to call the hotline number to go through the preliminary screening.

Mrs. Flint said operations at the Extended Hours Clinic have been suspended in order to focus the hospital’s resources on the new clinic for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

People with healthcare issues that are not emergencies and do not involve flu-like symptoms are encouraged to call their regular healthcare providers for appointments.

Providers have been asked to keep appointments available for more urgent cases that may arise that are not true emergencies, Mrs. Flint said.

Laboratory, rehabilitation, imaging and most other regular hospital services including physician offices are still operating and appointments are still being honored. The three community health clinics in Harrisville, Turin and Beaver Falls are also continuing service.

The Call First Clinic is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The COVID-19 information hotline and screening number for the clinic is 315-376-9678. More information and helpful resources on the coronovirus pandemic also can be found at https://www.lcgh.net/coronavirus.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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