Now that in-person instruction has resumed in Arkansas schools, it is more important than ever to have an adequate level of COVID-19 testing.
Without extensive testing, health experts cannot determine the level of community spread or give a reliable forecast.
This week, Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero urged Arkansans not to fall into the trap of testing fatigue.
If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath OR if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 call ahead to your health care provider or schedule a test at an Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) Local Health Unit.
ADH continues to recommend testing for people who have been exposed even if that individual does not have symptoms. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance on that issue, it made exceptions for high-risk individuals and those in areas where local and state health officials feel it necessary to do so. Dr. Romero stressed this week that ADH feels it is important to test anyone who has been exposed regardless of symptoms.
ADH also recommends testing if you have traveled out of state.
Testing is available. Public health labs can also provide quick turn-around. Dr. Romero said they could deliver results in 48 hours.
The state’s goal for August is to conduct 190,000 tests. That is close to 6% of the state’s population. As of Friday, the state was close to reaching that goal, with more than 160,000 tests conducted so far.
While the health department may take your insurance information if you do not have a way to pay for the test, it is free of cost. Whether you have insurance or not, local health units will administer a test.
We have posted a link to find your nearest health unit on our website www.arkansashouse.org.