Samaritan Health Services announced this week changes in testing and patient mask requirements related to the recent COVID-19 surge in Oregon. With omicron becoming the dominant variant statewide and a projected surge of patients, Samaritan announced an updated plan that’s going into effect.
Samaritan said it must temporarily limit tests to patients with symptoms or known exposure to the coronavirus and offer testing by appointment only beginning Tuesday, Jan. 11, and until further notice at its COVID testing sites in Corvallis, Albany and Lebanon.
“These were difficult decisions to make, but with cases of the omicron variant surging regionally, these changes were necessary to be sure we are able to provide coronavirus testing to the patients who need it most, and in a timely manner for the best possible patient care,” said Dr. Robert Turngren, chief medical officer for Samaritan Health Services.
Mid-Valley residents who believe they need testing can go online to samhealth.org/COVIDtesting for information. Those without access to the internet can call toll free 844-469-2427.
Samaritan’s drive-up COVID-19 testing sites offer PCR tests. Results typically take one to three days and will be delivered through the MyChart patient portal or with an automated phone message.
Other testing options include home test kits, which can be purchased over the counter at pharmacies or retail stores. Home test kits are appropriate for those experiencing symptoms that don’t require medical attention or have no symptoms but think they were exposed to someone with COVID-19, Samaritan said. For those with no symptoms, wait three to five days after the potential exposure to perform the home test.
Those seeking testing for events, travel or just peace of mind are also encouraged to visit 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.
Samaritan points out that those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and in need of medical attention should contact their primary care provider or visit a Samaritan Urgent Care/Walk-In Clinic. The closest clinic to Philomath is located in the Sunset Shopping Center complex at 5234 SW Philomath Blvd., in Corvallis.
Samaritan asks the public to visit an emergency department if they have life-threatening conditions.
Medical-grade face masks (such as the one pictured above) 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 Dr. Adam Brady, 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.