Avera Medical Group Brookings has established a “drive-through” testing center for COVID-19, the local clinic announced Tuesday.

Patients must call first and set up an appointment.

“If you believe you were exposed to this virus or are displaying symptoms such as fever over 100 degrees, cough or shortness of breath, you must call your primary care provider or 1-877-AT-AVERA to determine if testing is recommended for you. If a provider determines you need influenza or COVID-19 testing, our patient services representatives will call you to schedule your test and inform you where to go and when,” a letter to Avera patients and community members said.

“For COVID-19, curbside testing is conducted outside the clinic, right from your vehicle, and results are available within a few days. This is for your convenience and the safety of others. If your provider feels you need to be tested for influenza, these results are available in about an hour.”

The local clinic is also making changed to how it is scheduling visits with patients.

“Second, we are now scheduling all of our healthy visits in the morning (well-child exams, medication rechecks, behavioral health visits and annual physicals). Patients experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness will be seen in the afternoon. This will help limit the exposure of our healthy patients and patients who are at higher risk of respiratory illnesses including COVID-19,” the letter said.

“Third, we are actively working with information technology teams at Avera to start doing virtual care visits where you will be able to have a visit with your regular provider from the comfort and confines of your own home.

“You have our assurances that the doctors, advanced practice professionals, nurses, lab techs and receptionists will continue to work tirelessly to help keep you and your family healthy. Especially in the face of a global pandemic, we remain committed to our vision to improve the health of the people we serve. As the situation evolves, so too will our response.”

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