AR Gould makes testing and vaccine process changes
Presque Isle, Maine (August 5, 2021) — Northern Light AR Gould Hospital has made some changes in regarding its offering of both COVID-19 vaccines and testing for the virus. Both changes are effective as of this week.
On Wednesday, August 3, the hospital stopped offering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine through its outpatient clinical practices.
“We continue to offer the COVID-19 vaccine in our Walk-In Care, Primary Care, Pediatrics, and OB/GYN practices; however, for now, we will only be offering the Pfizer vaccine,” explains Jay Reynolds, MD, senior physician executive at the hospital. “This change is a result of the current shortage we are experiencing statewide of the J&J vaccine. With supplies limited, we are reserving this one-dose opportunity for inpatients in the hospital who may need to be vaccinated.”
Another change, going into effect on Friday, August 6, is the requirement that individuals register for an appointment for a COVID test.
“When we transitioned testing to our clinical locations, we tried to make it as easy as possible by offering walk-in opportunities for testing. However, this process has not worked as well as we hoped. Lack of appointments could lead to long wait times, both for those looking to be tested as well as for other patients needing care. With established appointments, all patients will be able to be cared for more efficiently,” says Daryl Boucher, vice president of operations at AR Gould Hospital.
Patients needing a COVID test should call their primary care office as a first option for making an appointment. If they can’t get in at a time that works for them or are not a patient of Northern Light Health, they can call Walk-In Care at 498-3502 between 12-7 pm to set up an appointment. With limited spots available daily at the Walk-In Care locations in Caribou and Presque Isle, same day appointments may not be possible. However, those planning to travel can proactively book appointments for a future date to ensure they get tested at the time they need to.
Patients who are ill and experiencing symptoms of COVID can still present to either Walk-In Care location without an appointment. These patients will receive a COVID test if deemed necessary as part of their exam.
“We recognize it can be confusing when things continue to change regarding COVID policies. However, it is imperative for us to continue to make changes as needed to either meet federal and state guidelines or to improve processes that aren’t working as we expected them to. Ultimately our goal is providing safe, effective care for our patients and our community,” says Boucher.