Use of a Screening Protocol to Identify Asymptomatic COVID-19 in a Free Community Health Clinic in Shelby County, Alabama, October 2020–February 2021

Academic Article


  • Objective: Community of Hope Health Clinic (CHHC), a free and charitable clinic in Shelby County, Alabama, developed a screening protocol to identify patients with asymptomatic COVID-19 with the goal of minimizing infection risk for other patients, health care providers, and staff. We sought to determine whether the use of the CHHC screening protocol identified asymptomatic carriers of SARS-CoV-2 before their scheduled clinic visits. Methods: The CHHC screening protocol included the use of an adapted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention questionnaire via telephone 48-72 hours before a scheduled clinic appointment, coupled with a second administration of the questionnaire and a temperature check immediately before the patient’s scheduled visit. Patients with positive responses to any questions or whose temperatures were greater than 100.4 °F were refused entry to the clinic, their appointments were rescheduled, and a SARS-CoV-2 test was recommended. SARS-CoV-2 laboratory testing was conducted on all patients with an appointment from October 26, 2020, through February 18, 2021, to verify whether the screening protocol was effective. Results: Of 298 patient encounters, 20 patients screened positive on the SARS-CoV-2 patient screen. Another 278 patients screened negative, were seen for patient care, and received a SARS-CoV-2 test via nasal swab; 274 (98.6%) patients received a negative test result, and 4 (1.4%) patients received a positive test result. Conclusions: The CHHC SARS-CoV-2 screening protocol, as validated by SARS-CoV-2 assay, was effective in screening out asymptomatic patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 before they were seen in clinic. As clinics and office practices return to prepandemic volumes, the use of such a screening protocol can help mitigate the risk of serious COVID-19 infection, especially for unvaccinated patients, health care providers, and staff.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kilgore JR; Johnston JR; Van Der Pol B; Li P; Wilson M; Curry W; Selleck C
  • Start Page

  • 826
  • End Page

  • 831
  • Volume

  • 137
  • Issue

  • 5