WRHS CEO: Local COVID-19 testing available to those meeting criteria


Gary Paxson, CEO and president of White River Health System (WRHS), visited with White River Now’s Chad Whiteaker yesterday afternoon concerning local COVID-19 testing at White River Medical Center (WRMC) and other WRHS affiliates throughout the region.

WRMC currently has drive-up testing capability at the hospital and at Stone County Medical Center, and testing is also available at WRHS primary care clinics, according to Paxson.

There are, however, guidelines for testing.

“We would love to test everyone in our communities,” Paxson said. “Our guidelines are driven by the Centers for Disease Control at the national level and the Arkansas Department of Health at the local level. So as we talk to people and screen them, we’re looking for certain criteria, and those who fit into that criteria are who we proceed with testing.”

Based on those guidelines, local testing is currently available for:

  • Individuals with symptoms (dry cough, fever, shortness of breath)
  • Individuals with known exposure
  • Healthcare workers
  • First responders
  • Individuals in high-risk categories (those with chronic health conditions and weakened immune systems, as well as elderly patients)

“Those are our priorities, and if anyone falls outside of that, we are delaying the testing,” Paxson said.

Those that pass the screening process should see test results available within three to five days. Those with high-risk symptoms, such as a very ill healthcare worker, will likely see a turnaround time of 12-48 hours, Paxson said.

The process would begin by contacting a healthcare provider, and WRHS also has a number of options to seek out more information.

WRHS offers a “Cornoavirus Assessment Tool,” which is a health chat tool for the assessment of symptoms, available at its coronavirus information page. Click here for access to the page.

There is also a hotline number for information from WRHS that is available by calling (870) 613-6145. It is staffed throughout the day with a live operator.

And the link for WRHS’s telemedicine program is: wavelink.whiteriverhealthsystem.com.

To listen to the entire interview with Paxson, click below.


The new White River Now mobile app has started featuring regular COVID-19 updates and podcasts. In addition to the updates featured on the White River Now family of radio stations, the COVID-19 podcast section also features new interviews with Stone County Judge Stacey Avey, Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, Independence County Judge Robert Griffin, state Sen. Stu Smith, and state Sen. James Sturch. Download the free White River Now mobile app today from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, and keep up-to-date on all local and state coronavirus information and to listen to the streams of White River Now radio stations.

We also carry live feeds of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s COVID-19’s briefings on-air at Arkansas 103.3, online at White River Now’s Facebook page, and through the Arkansas 103.3 stream on the White River Now mobile app on Arkansas 103.3.

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Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. on Ozark Newsline, broadcast from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLE, Outlaw 106.5, and 99.5 Hits Now. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at news@whiterivernow.com. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Add don’t forget to download the  White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.


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