Who can get tested?
Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 or who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should consider getting tested. NCDHHS issued updated guidance on who should be tested for COVID-19. The new guidance recommends that clinicians test any patient in whom COVID-19 is suspected.
Symptoms include: fever/chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache, new loss of taste/smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea/vomiting and/or diarrhea.
If you are experiencing severe, life threatening symptoms (for example, severe difficulty breathing, altered thinking, blue lips), seek immediate medical care or call 9-1-1.
How to get tested
DO NOT come to the Emergency Department for COVID-19 symptoms unless you have a true emergency. For non-life-threatening symptoms, call your primary care provider, health department, urgent care, or telemedicine provider.
No referral is needed to be tested through the health department or local pharmacies
- Testing through AppHealthCare: Monday through Friday 8:30-10:00 am on a first come, first served basis. You do not need an appointment for testing.
- Testing through Avery County Health Department: Monday, Wednesday & Friday 9:00 am ‐ 6:00 pm at the Mobile Unit in the Health Department Parking Lot. Call (828) 733-8273 for an appointment.
Referral is needed for testing through ARHS:
1. Call a healthcare provider
Call your primary care provider for a referral to the ARHS testing site.
2. Provider refers for testing, if needed
If the provider determines that you meet the criteria for testing, he/she will help you make your appointment at a testing location in Watauga or Avery County. Please DO NOT travel to the testing location without an appointment.
3. Follow instructions after testing
If your test is positive for COVID-19, you will need to be isolated for up to 14 days. The testing facility will provide education for you and your family whether you test positive for the virus or not.
Billing and Insurance Information
ARHS provider visits (in-person or telehealth) will be covered by your insurance just as a normal office visit would. If testing is needed, it will be billed separately.
If you do not have health insurance:
- Call your nearest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). If you feel you may have COVID-19, be sure to disclose that when you call to obtain an appointment. FQHCs are community-based health care providers that receive federal funds to provide needed health services in communities across the state.
- Apply for Financial Assistance with Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. Call the Financial Counseling Office at (828) 262-4110.