With the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continuing to increase in Northwest Arkansas, Mercy has reopened a COVID-19 testing site in Bentonville that will be open to all patients. The drive-through site will do testing by appointment and will accept patients without an appointment.
Anyone seeking an appointment should go to mercy.net/COVIDtestNWA to directly schedule. The site at 3101 S.E. 14th St. in Bentonville is exclusively for patients who have symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough and fatigue, or have had contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. Its hours will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Northwest Arkansas hospitalizations hit an all-time high Aug. 11, with 173 COVID-19 patients receiving care, and all hospitals’ resources are being stretched by the exponential rise in cases that began in late June.
The Northwest Arkansas Council provided funding and coordinated volunteers to reopen the testing site.
“Due to a sharp increase in cases in Northwest Arkansas and across the state, hospitals are being forced to refocus their efforts to accommodate the massive influx of critically ill COVID-19 patients,” said Ryan Cork, executive director of the Northwest Arkansas Council Health Care Transformation Division. “As the delta variant surges, it is imperative for residents to continue safe practices to protect family members, friends and neighbors – including getting vaccinated, wearing masks in public, practicing proper hygiene and social distancing. Hospital staff are exhausted and running low on resources, and we are pleading with the community to act responsibly to help end this pandemic.”
Testing continues to be important to help people confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis so that they can self-isolate to prevent spreading the virus to others and to seek treatment if needed, said Eric Pianalto, president of Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas.
“We are responding because we have learned testing has again become a huge community need,” Pianalto said. He also urged those who haven’t been vaccinated to please do it for their loved ones, if not for themselves, as more than 90 percent of critically ill patients are unvaccinated.
“Having visited our COVID-19 unit recently and having seen the desperation of families and the needless suffering of those in our care, I implore you to consider that coronavirus is the real and serious threat to your family and community,” he said.
Patients should be aware that this location does not provide pre-procedure or pre-surgical COVID-19 testing. Providers will schedule that testing at a separate location.
Caregivers note the symptoms of the delta variant can vary from those of the original coronavirus. Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough or tiredness. Less common symptoms may include:
- Aches and pains
- Sore throat
- Red or bloodshot eyes
- Loss of taste or smell
- A rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes
Serious symptoms include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure and loss of speech or movement.
Mercy continues to provide COVID-19 vaccinations at Mercy Clinic Springdale, 4600 Mercy Lane. Direct scheduling is available here. If online scheduling is not an option, please call 833-364-6777. The clinic allows walk-in appointments if there is sufficient vaccine supply and staffing available. However, please note that some people seeking an appointment in person may be scheduled on a later date.