Testing for COVID-19

Saturday, May 2, 2020

During Wednesday’s COVID-19 press conference, Chris Raymer, Nurse Practitioner and CEO of Mississippi County Hospital Systems, discussed forms of testing that are available to people in the county.

Raymer said, “If you have a physician, contact them first, some of the offices are doing testing some of them aren’t and if they’re not, we are doing testing at the hospital. We’re doing both the serum antibody testing and the nasal swab testing. The number to call if you need to get tested there is 870-838-7326, we’ve cornered off part of the hospital. We don’t cross contaminate, we have special cleaning, and plexiglass protective equipment.”

Raymer continued, “The nasal swab test is for acute illnesses, so if you’re sick now you’ll have that test done. The antibody test just tells you that you have had it before and your body made antibodies against that. There is some debate on whether you have immunity or not, but what it shows is that you’ve been exposed and you’ve had the illness.”

Raymer said that insurance is fully covering the tests.

“We’re ramping up testing in Mississippi County. Right now insurance is covering the tests at 100 percent; we’re not collecting any money at the testing site. Most of the testing is being sent off somewhere and they are collection centers,” said Raymer, who added testing can take anywhere between 48 hours and 5-7 days.

Blytheville Mayor James Sanders reminded everyone that Healthy Partners is offering free testing.

“The number of Healthy Partners is 870-532-6001 so that you can call and set an appointment. They may also have outside testing done but if you call that number there will be someone there to help you,” Sanders said. Sanders also relayed information regarding to the operations of restaurants in Arkansas.

“Part of the information that the governor has already put out in regards to restaurants and to my understanding is that they are going to operate through a phase one operation. The date they have stated is on May 11, with restaurants having restricted opening. What that means is having 33 percent occupancy for inside dining.”

Sanders added, “We are still distancing during this time, the guidelines for the restaurants are found on arkedc.com”