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Responding to COVID-19

| Date Posted: 6/21/2021

The highly contagious Delta variant is leading to an uptick in COVID-19 cases in several U.S. states, including North Carolina. FirstHealth is committed to keeping our communities safe and we continue to offer COVID-19 vaccines for anyone 12 years and older. 


Below you will find information about how to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and what to expect when you visit a FirstHealth hospital or clinic. Do you have questions about the Delta variant of COVID-19? FirstHealth Infectious Diseases Physician Gretchen Arnoczy, M.D., weighs in on what makes the variant concerning and why it's important to get vaccinated


Already vaccinated? Great. Here are some tips about resuming your day-to-day activities



COVID-19 Vaccines

Anyone 18 and older is eligible to be vaccinated, and those 12 and older can be scheduled to receive a Pfizer vaccine by their parent or legal guardian. 


FirstHealth is offering COVID-19 vaccines at several of its primary care and occupational health clinics across our service area. Appointments are required. Please call (910) 715-7468 to schedule an appointment at one of our clinics. Several counties within the FirstHealth service area also continue to offer vaccinations. Please check availability from health departments in your area. In Moore County, call (910) 947-7468. In Richmond County, call (910) 417-4909.


Great care has been taken to ensure that the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and all three have been granted emergency use authorizations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The federal government has pledged to cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccines. Depending on your insurance plan and where you receive a vaccine, administrative fees may be billed to your insurance company, but there will be no out-of-pocket costs for you.


COVID-19 Testing

FirstHealth of the Carolinas COVID-19 testing costs $110.00 to $150.00 depending on the type of test, before insurance or financial assistance discounts are applied. If you have health insurance, you will likely pay nothing, as most insurance companies are fully covering the cost of testing. If you don’t have insurance, please visit our Financial Assistance Program section of the website. Doctor visits and other services outside of the test, including convenient care and emergency room visits, are billed separately as any other medical services at FirstHealth of the Carolinas.


Ways we are keeping you safe

FirstHealth has always been committed to providing exceptional care, and that remains true during this pandemic. Throughout our system, we have implemented robust procedures for ensuring your health and safety. Masks are required at all FirstHealth facilities and clinics, and visitor restrictions remain in place at our hospitals. They include the following:


  • Hospital Inpatient, Surgery and ICU patients — Two healthy adult support persons.* 
  • Hospital Outpatient (for example, lab testing, imaging or cardiology testing at a FirstHealth hospital) — Two healthy adult support persons.*
  • Emergency Department — One healthy adult support person. 
  • Women & Children’s — Two healthy adult support persons for laboring and obstetric patients for the duration of their stay.**
  • All FirstHealth Clinics — Two healthy adult support persons, but we encourage visitors to wait in their car to limit the number of people in the waiting room.
  • No visitors under the age of 18 are allowed.
  • No visitation is allowed for COVID-19 positive patients or patients who are under investigation, except during end-of-life situations.


*We ask that only two visitors per patient enter the building at a time. Other visitors are not allowed to wait in the lobby or waiting areas. 


Additional Women and Children's visitation guidelines:

  • Triage patients may have one visitor at the bedside until a more permanent inpatient room is available or indicated.
  • The family waiting area is reserved for either of the two visitors waiting during Epidural placement.
  • Visitors may switch with other visitors with only two visitors in the building per patient. These visitors are to be screened upon entry into the building as per protocol with the COVID-19 screenings.
  • Visitation ends at 8:30 p.m. This is especially important for the Mother/Baby unit to promote rest & bonding.
  • NICU visitation guidelines remain in place. Parents or individuals who have a patient/infant identification band are allowed to visit. We will notify patients if restrictions are lifted to allow grandparents in the future.


tips for staying healthy

There are many ways you can lower your risk of contracting COVID-19. FirstHealth encourages those who are not vaccinated to continue following the 3 Ws: Wear a mask when you are in public or social distancing is difficult, wash your hands frequently and wait 6 feet apart from those who live outside your home. 


Other ways to stay safe: Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, avoid close contact with people who are ill and stay home from work or school if you are sick and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze


Be on the lookout for COVID-19 symptoms, which include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. 


caring for you in new ways

FirstHealth has dramatically increased access to virtual care options since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Our Primary Care and Convenient Care clinics are offering video, phone or curbside visits, and the FirstHealth On the Go app allows you to meet with a doctor anytime, anywhere on your smartphone. If you need in-person care for severe symptoms, call before visiting your Primary Care provider, a Convenient Care clinic or a FirstHealth emergency department. This will assist health care providers to take steps to get you the appropriate care you need while keeping others safe.


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