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UAMS now offering online COVID-19 screening tests

UAMS is offering free online screening tests for anyone in Arkansas who suspects they are showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — UAMS is offering free online screening tests for anyone in Arkansas who suspects they are showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

The online portal called UAMS HealthNow allows Arkansans to speak with a nurse practitioner or doctor over Facetime.

"There should not be much of a wait time. The staffing will be 24/7," Dr. Steppe Mette said.

UAMS Chief Executive Officer Steppe Mette said this is simply a screening tool. Doctors will not be diagnosing anyone with the virus.

"The screening process is pretty good for more likely to determine you don't have it than that you do have it," he said.

You will first be asked about your symptoms, and if they are similar to COVID-19.

"Initially it was cough, shortness of breath, but now we're adding sore throat," Dr. Mette said.

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You will also be asked if you have traveled somewhere recently where there is an outbreak. Or if you have been in contact with someone confirmed to have the virus.

"If you've been in Little Rock the entire time and haven't traveled, then you would not screen positive, and the symptoms would be more so influenza or cold," Dr. Mette said.

If you do screen positive, the next step would be to get tested.

"And a referral to the Arkansas Department of Health," Dr. Mette said.

This screening process helps limit exposure in clinics if someone is sick.

"We're talking about other areas away from emergency rooms to do that testing, because we're concerned about a large number of patients needing to have testing done," he said.

Dr. Mette said it also helps cut down on the number of people getting tested for COVID-19 who may just have the flu.

RELATED: Central Arkansas VA hospitals put coronavirus prevention measures in place

"And as you've probably heard, we've got a limited number of tests in the United States," Dr. Mette said.

You do not need to be a patient with UAMS to use the online portal. 

If you do screen positive for possibly having the virus and are showing severe symptoms, you will be advised to call your primary doctor right away.