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AdventHealth Central Texas in Killeen implemented new protocols Wednesday for entry into the emergency room.

To gain entry into the ER, patients will first need to be screened for COVID-19, according to a release by hospital spokeswoman Erin Riley.

All patients will have their height, weight and vitals taken prior to doing a screening. Patients who screen negative for COVID-19 can enter the ER.

Screening involves vitals such as height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation, Riley said.

Patients will also ask four questions about their current condition (coughing, fever, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing), recent international travel, recent cruise ship exposure and recent interaction with anyone known or suspected as having COVID-19.

Patients who screen positive by answering “yes” to one or more of the four questions will be taken to the Respiratory Illness Protocol Station at the ER, but it does not mean a coronavirus test will be administered.

At the respiratory station, they will receive further diagnostic care, Riley said.

“The care they receive is based on guidance outlined by local health departments, the Texas Department of State Health Services and the CDC,” Riley said via email.

Patients who screen positive at both the triage and at the respiratory station will receive a COVID-19 test.

The hospital has also canceled all elective surgeries and procedures. Patients should contact their doctors if they have questions about whether their procedure is elective.

Riley is also asking employers not to send employees to “get cleared” that they do not have COVID-19.

“At this time, we are only able to test someone after a health care professional has determined that their risk factors qualify them for advanced screening,” Riley said.

Also Wednesday, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center implemented similar measures. Patients will be screened from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. at a respiratory drive-thru. It aims to identify patients who have respiratory symptoms to be screened further before entering the hospital.

Baylor Scott & White does have drive-thru screening capabilities at some sites. Patients must do an online screening and attend an eVisit before going to a drive-thru site, according to hospital officials.

The Scott & White drive-thru screenings for patients who meet the criteria are at the Killeen clinic, 3801 Scott and White Drive, and the Baylor Scott & White Pavilion, 1815 S. 31st St., Temple.

Seton Medical Center in Harker Heights does not have drive-thru screenings at this time.

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