AppHealthcare discontinues drive-thru testing in Ashe, Alleghany counties

Will Hofmann, Enterprise Editor

Beginning April 1, AppHealthcare will no longer offer drive-thru testing services at its Ashe and Alleghany locations and will remove individual case data for all counties featured on its COVID-19 dashboard. 

Drive-thru testing will be available in Watauga County, as long as AppHealthcare’s contract with StarMed Healthcare, a healthcare company on contract through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human services, continues. Those in the affected counties can call AppHealthcare to schedule an appointment for testing, according to its March 24 press release.

“The landscape is much different even than in January. Because of these factors, we must focus our efforts on monitoring key metrics like hospital capacity, wastewater surveillance, COVID-like illness surveillance that help us understand the current landscape of COVID-19 and help track severe outcomes,” said Melissa Bracey, AppHealthcare’s director of communication and compliance, in an email with The Appalachian.

Bracey said the changes in testing were made to reflect AppHealthcare’s focus during this stage of the pandemic. Saying their priority should be more on preventing severe outcomes of COVID-19, rather than preventing and tracking every single case. 

Bracey said that while the data is important to watch, AppHealthcare’s focus will shift to work on monitoring individual case counts in context with other metrics, rather than focusing on strictly reducing infections. Individual case counts are available on the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website.

At-home tests are available through AppHealthcare while supplies last. Additional testing options are available through the NC DHHS website, along with specific data relevant to Watauga County.