A check in station outside the back entrance to the Salem Health clinic on South River Road, where patients were being tested for COVID-19 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

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Citing a need to conserve test kits and supplies for hospitalized patients, Salem Health said Wednesday it would stop testing people with respiratory illnesses for flu or the novel coronavirus at outpatient clinics and the hospital emergency room.

The health provider has been testing people at three local clinics since Monday, March 16.

"While we are working hard to secure additional collections kits and other supplies, we must preserve these resources for hospitalized patients only," Salem Health said in a news release.

The clinics where testing was available will remain open to treat patients with symptoms of respiratory illness who don't need to be admitted to the hospital. Patients can schedule appointments or get more information by calling (503) 814-0099.

Salem Health asks patients who need non-emergency care for other issues to schedule a virtual visit by calling (503) 814-4400.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander at rachel@salemreporter.com or 503-575-1241.