Who Should be Tested? New COVID-19 testing in Birmingham

virus illustration with word COVID-19 in red

For our patients, we want to update our previous guidance about testing. UAB is now offering COVID-19 testing at a drive-thru site, by appointment only.

To use this testing site, you must have symptoms of COVID-19 infection and first be screened by telephone. (205-975-1881). The following is a summary of our current guidance about who should be tested.

As COVID-19 testing has expanded in the greater-Birmingham area, many individuals are still uncertain about whether testing would benefit them and their family members. The confusion is understandable considering the amount of press commentary about testing. We continue to advise that testing benefits persons WITH SYMPTOMS THAT SUGGEST COVID-19 INFECTION. This is the standard for testing that both testing sites in Birmingham have announced.

A negative test in someone who has symptoms, tells the individual and the care provider that COVID-19 is not the cause of the illness.

A negative test—in a person with no symptoms

This test provides no information. The individual may not have enough of the virus at the time of the test to trigger a positive result. It gives no reassurance that a test the next day will also be negative.

A person who has had significant exposure to someone with COVID-19 infection, but has no symptoms.

This test  also offers no information from being tested (same reason as above).  The recommendations for these people don’t change whether or not they have been tested.

If you have been exposed to the virus by contact with infected individuals, be aware that you are now at risk.

  • Isolate yourself from others for 14 days from your last contact with an infected individual.
  • Check your temperature twice a day, and be alert for other symptoms of illness.
  • If you are at high risk for severe illness (an older adult, someone with weakened immune symptoms or other serious medical problems), seek medical care immediately if you think you may be getting sick, even if your symptoms are mild.
  • If you do not have high risk for severe COVID-19 illness, and you develop mild to moderate symptoms, you can care for yourself at home. Contact your healthcare provider for further guidance.
  • IN ALL CASES, SEEK EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE IF YOU HAVE DIFFICULTY BREATHING OR SHORTNESS OF BREATH, NEW CHEST PAIN OR PRESSURE, COUGHING UP BLOOD, MENTAL CONFUSION OR SLOW MENTAL RESPONSE, YOU AE UNABLE TO KEEP LIQUIDS DOWN OR HAVE SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION LIKE DIZZINESS WHEN STANDING. Call 911 or go directly to the Emergency Room.
Our patients who develop symptoms

You should consult your primary doctor or the UAB’s call center for COVID-19 testing about whether you should be tested. UAB’s downtown testing site is by appointment only and you MUST FIRST BE SCREENED FOR SYMPTOMS THROUGH THE CALL CENTER AT 205-975-1881. If you have only mild to moderate symptoms, and are able to care for yourself, your doctor may suggest that you stay at home and strictly isolate yourself from others. For the protection of other patients, Sparks & Favor is not testing in our office.

Our Pregnant Patients

Our pregnant patients with no symptoms do not need to be tested. If you are pregnant and have symptoms of a flu-like illness, we DO want you to be tested. Our obstetric patients should call us immediately if you believe you have symptoms of a flu-like illness. The results of your test will guide us to provide your continuing prenatal care with the appropriate precautions.

If you have symptoms, please call us before coming to the office, WHETHER YOU ARE PREGNANT OR A GYN PATIENT.  We are available by telephone 24/7, and we will advise you about the next step in your care. Call 911 or go directly to the emergency room if you are experiencing a medical emergency.