GCRMC Provides Drive-Thru Testing
Updated testing criteria for COVID-19
April 1, 2020
New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) has updated its guidance for COVID-19 testing criteria to allow testing for patients without symptoms of respiratory infection if:
- The patient is a close contact or household member of a confirmed COVID-19 case OR
- The patient is a nursing home resident OR
- The patient is in a congregant setting such as a homeless shelter, group home, or detention center
For patients who are asymptomatic and do not fit the criteria described above, NMDOH does not recommend testing.
NMDOH also recommends prioritizing testing for symptomatic (fever, cough and/or shortness of breath) patients who in the 14 days prior to illness onset:
- The patient visited any international or U.S. domestic location OR
- The patient had contact with another confirmed COVID-19 case OR
- The patient is 65 years or older and/or has a chronic condition (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, lung disease)
Testing is done by appointment only. There is no out-of-pocket fee. Call the scheduling line 575-443-7505 to schedule for the COVID-19 testing.
GCRMC Satellite Lab is open Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Located at 1410 Aspen Dr., Alamogordo, New Mexico
GCRMC Information Line is 575-446-5800
- Get details on how to get tested for Coronavirus.
- Hospital Visitation Infomation and Guidelines.
- Get answers to other questions or concerns.
GCRMC Provides Critical Inpatient COVID-19 Testing
Rapid resulting COVID-19 testing allows hospitals to preserve PPE during this time of national shortage and get results to the patients and staff caring for them within hours not days; which is a win/win.
GCRMC laboratory is one of two labs in the state that received the analyzer with Cepheid rapid COVID-19 test cartridges. Janice Miller, Lab director, identified that GCRMC laboratory already had the GeneExpert System on hand, and could immediately incorporate this new testing methodology to provide timelier results for inpatients in hospitals in Southern New Mexico.
Currently GCRMC is making this rapid testing available to the hospitals in Las Cruces, Ruidoso and Artesia.
Jim Heckert, CEO of GCRMC, states: “We are pleased to have this opportunity to assist our colleagues in Southern New Mexico. We are all in this crisis together with the same goal to protect our staff and patients, and preserve limited PPE. The Cepheid COVID-19 cartridge does just that.”
The State of New Mexico has launched a support line specifically for healthcare workers and first responders. The line is available 24/7 to support those on the front lines of the state’s pandemic response and connect them to a professional counselor.
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Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19
What is the Coronavirus Disease 2019?
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This virus was not previously known to cause human illness until the recent outbreak. It is believed that the virus was initially transmitted to humans from a wild animal. Human-to-human transmission is now the most common route of transmission.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Similar to many viral respiratory illnesses, the symptoms of the virus mimic the common cold and include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, dry cough and sometimes difficulty breathing. Symptoms may appear between two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Also, be mindful that we are in flu season and pollen counts are high, so there are many other causes for upper respiratory symptoms that are much more common than COVID-19.
How does COVID-19 spread?
As with any viral respiratory illness, COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small respiratory droplets, which are dispersed when a person with the virus coughs or sneezes and are then inhaled by another person. These droplets can also land on objects and surfaces around the infected person. Other people then catch the virus by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
How do I protect myself from getting COVID-19?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent the spread of germs is proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette. Below are some other tips:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and perform hand hygiene immediately.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
What do I do if I think I have COVID-19?
Based on CDC guidelines, if you think you may have COVID-19 and are experiencing minor symptoms, Gerald Champion recommends you self-quarantine at home for at least 14 days and consult with your healthcare provider. For severe symptoms, call ahead to your local Emergency Center prior to arriving or dial 911 if you need emergent care.
How can I be tested for COVID-19?
There are a limited number of COVID-19 test kits available nationwide. To determine who gets tested for the virus, Gerald Champion follows Public Health guidelines, which includes evaluating for relevant symptoms, travel history and potential exposure.
What happens if I test positive for this Coronavirus?
If a patient is confirmed with COVID-19, the decision to hospitalize the patient or recommend self-quarantine will be made in consultation with healthcare providers.
Will taking Tamiflu help me protect myself from getting COVID-19?
No, Tamiflu will not protect you from getting the novel coronavirus. Tamiflu is a drug to treat the flu, not a vaccine. The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers internationally have been working to develop antivirals, but at the present time, there is no specific treatment or vaccine.
How long does COVID-19 survive on surfaces?
It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others.
Should I be concerned about contracting the Coronavirus?
If you are not in an area where the coronavirus is spreading, or if you have not traveled from one of those areas or have not been in close contact with someone who has and is feeling unwell, your chances of getting the novel virus are currently low.
How is Gerald Champion protecting patients, visitors and staff from Coronavirus?
Gerald Champion continues to take proactive steps to protect our employees, physician partners, patients and community by implementing a workforce protocol based on CDC guidelines. We are screening all visitors, patients, staff, vendors and anyone entering the facility every day. Hospital entrances have limited access. Gerald Champion conference rooms, cafeteria and bistro have been closed to the general public. This protocol also includes screening members of our workforce who have traveled to affected areas, per the CDC, within the applicable time period, or who have had contact with someone who is under investigation for COVID-19 or has been confirmed with the virus. Based on screening results, we will then provide information on immediate next-level care or mandatory leave for employees for up to 14 days, as necessary.
What is Gerald Champion doing to prevent the potential spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to patients, visitors and physicians?
To further protect the health of our patients, workforce and the community, and prevent the potential spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Gerald Champion has closed our facility to most visitors. All visitors, providers and staff are screened upon entering the facility every day. Gerald Champion has a private, isolated wing prepared for any potential patients who test positive for COVID-19. Gerald Champion has prepared a private Emergency Department entrance to isolate patients who may have COVID-19, to prevent spreading the virus to patients and staff in the facility.
What is Gerald Champion doing to screen for COVID-19 and prevent exposure?
Gerald Champion’s workforce has been trained to identify, isolate and treat individuals with infectious diseases, including COVID-19. The System has isolation policies and rooms across its hospitals designed to appropriately and effectively care for these patients while safeguarding others from exposure. In addition, our clinicians and physicians who provide direct patient care to affected individuals have been trained on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), including a gown, gloves, face shield and a mask. Historical outbreaks of other infectious diseases, such as swine flu, Ebola and Zika, have strengthened Gerald Champion’s ability to respond to infectious disease situations in terms of readiness and preparedness.