While the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases climbs to triple digits in Travis and Williamson counties, Austin Regional Clinic announced March 30 a measure to streamline testing methods for the coronavirus.

ARC will open drive-up testing sites across five sites in the Austin area, according to a March 30 news release from the health care system.

One drive-up site at ARC South 1st in Austin began operations March 30. The other four locations will begin testing throughout the rest of this week, ARC said in its release.

Patients wishing to be tested at ARC’s drive-up sites are required to first obtain a lab test order from an ARC physician. These orders can be received following an evaluation by an ARC physician at a clinic site or via telemedicine.

Telemedicine appointments can be made by calling a hotline set up by ARC. Appointments will also be made for residents who come to the drive-up sites without a lab test order from an ARC physician.

“If someone drives up without first having an initial physician evaluation, we will offer to schedule them for the next available telemedicine appointment so a physician can determine whether a test is indicated,” ARC Chief Administrative Officer Katie Henry said in the March 30 news release.

Some patients may be able to obtain a telemedicine consultation at the ARC drive-up clinic, ARC said in its news release. If a patient meets ARC’s testing criteria, they will be asked to return to the drive-up testing area.

Patients with lab orders will be screened by ARC clinicians at the drive-up sites to ensure they are not experiencing difficulty breathing, according to the ARC news release. A nasal swab test will be administered to patients who do not require immediate medical attention. The test results administered at these sites can take anywhere from two to 10 days, according to ARC.

In its news release, ARC said state labs are not currently charging patients for the COVID-19 test, and most insurance companies have agreed to cover costs for tests at commercial labs.

ARC instructs patients to seek medical advice if they experience symptoms such as fever, a dry cough, fatigue or shortness of breath. Patients over 60 years of age or those who have underlying health conditions are especially encouraged to contact their primary care physicians, according to the ARC news release.