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Artesia General Hospital is informing the public about changes to its entry procedures due to COVID-19 precautions and alerting residents to a drive-up testing event that will be held this week in Roswell.

The hospital issued the following announcement on the subject of hospital entrances:

“Artesia General Hospital is directing patients and visitors to enter the hospital through the Emergency Department entrance. This allows us to monitor the flow of people into the hospital, and to allow screening for symptoms associated with the COVID-19 virus. We need to identify these people before they enter the hospital and possibly spread the virus to others.

“Hospital staff and unarmed security guards will greet patients and visitors there, and provide direction on where to go for their appointment as needed. These new procedures will protect the health and safety of our patients, staff and community.”

Drive-up testing for COVID-19 will be conducted by the Roswell office of the New Mexico Department of Health from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at Wool Bowl in the 1500 block of North Grand Avenue between East 19th Street and East College Boulevard in Roswell.

Only individuals displaying symptoms of the virus will receive swabs. Frequent symptoms are dry cough, fever, and difficulty breathing; other symptoms could include runny nose, sore throat, headache, and a general feeling of being unwell.

It is important to note that test results may take several days to arrive due to an influx of tests being conducted in the state.

The hospital has also announced that the Green Chile Café and cafeteria dining room are being restricted to hospital employees only.