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Samaritan Changes COVID-19 Testing, Masking Requirements

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With the omicron variant of COVID-19 established as the dominant strain in Oregon, and a projected surge of patients expected to peak in the state this month, Samaritan Health Services announces testing by appointment only at its testing locations in Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties, as well as new facemask requirements at all Samaritan facilities. Additional changes in testing criteria will also be implemented in Benton and Linn counties.

Testing

Demand for testing has increased dramatically and we must temporarily restrict testing to patients with symptoms or known exposure to coronavirus at our mid-Valley testing locations in Albany, Corvallis and Lebanon.

For mid-Valley residents seeking testing for travel or events, we recommend visiting other locations in the community, including pharmacies, county health departments and independent testing sites. Visit Oregon Health Authority’s testing location directory at healthoregon.org/covid19testing for more information.

Mid-Valley residents who need testing because they are experiencing coronavirus symptoms or have been exposed to someone known to have COVID-19 may visit samhealth.org/COVIDtesting for information. Those without access to the internet may call toll free 844-469-2427.

By Appointment Only

All of Samaritan’s testing sites In Albany, Corvallis, Lebanon, Lincoln City and Newport, now require an appointment. This will help our care teams meet the increased demand in an orderly and efficient manner, for the best possible patient care.

To make an appointment, visit samhealth.org/COVIDTesting. Those without access to the internet may toll free 844-469-2427.

Samaritan’s drive-up COVID-19 testing sites offer PCR tests. Results typically take two to three days and will be delivered through the MyChart patient portal or with a phone message. Notifications through MyChart are more expedient and convenient, and people are encouraged to sign up for a MyChart account. Visit samhealth.org/MyChart to learn more.

Home Test Kits

Other testing options include home test kits, which can be purchased over the counter at pharmacies or retail stores. Home test kits are appropriate if you are experiencing symptoms that don’t require medical attention or have no symptoms but think you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. If you have no symptoms, wait three to five days after the potential exposure to perform the home test.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms that need medical attention, please contact your primary care provider or visit a Samaritan Urgent Care/Walk-In Clinic near you. Only visit an emergency department if you have life-threatening conditions.

Face Masks

Medical-grade face masks, such as the one pictured are now required in all Samaritan facilities.

Patients and visitors may wear their own medical-grade face masks – often known as procedure masks or surgical masks, N95s or KN95s as long as the masks are well fitting and do not have valves. Bandanas, gaiters, face shields and cloth face masks are no longer allowed in Samaritan facilities.

If a patient or visitor does not have a well-fitting, medical-grade face mask, one will be provided to them.

“As cases of the omicron variant surge in our community, this measure has been put in place to keep patients, visitors, and our health care teams as healthy and safe as possible,” said Adam Brady, MD, infectious disease physician and chair of Samaritan’s coronavirus task force. “Well-fitting face masks will help keep the Samaritan health care team healthy and maintain the capacity of our hospitals and clinics to provide care to the community. We appreciate everyone doing what they can to minimize the spread of coronavirus.”

For more information about Samaritan Health Services’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including information about vaccination and testing, visit samhealth.org/Coronavirus.

Samaritan continues to join the Centers for Disease Control and Oregon Health Authority in recommending COVID-19 vaccination, and boosters, as the first line of defense against COVID-19.

Visit samhealth.org/GetTheVaccine for information about the authorizations and recommendations for various age groups and vaccination opportunities near you.