NHS Borders is urging people not to attend accident and emergency units and ask for testing if they suspect they've got Covid-19.
Senior medics at the health board say anyone needing coronavirus-related treatment will only be referred to the Borders General Hospital after their condition has been assessed via the 111 service - unless they are seriously ill.
It was announced on Monday that five people have died after being treated for coronavirus in the Scottish Borders. They are the first to die of the virus in the area.
Sarah Horan, from NHS Borders, said: "If you're concerned as a member of the public that you might have symptoms of Covid-19, I would direct you to NHS Inform, read the guidance on there - self-care will be the most appropriate guidance for most people.
"If you do have concerns following that then phone 111, they will again assess your condition and then direct you if necessary to our local Covid hub which is currently housed here at Borders General Hospital.
"But you will be referred to this hub - it's not a referral and it's really important that people do not self-present to our accident and emergency for testing.
"We cannot carry out tests in our accident and emergency unless you require admission to hospital and are seriously unwell."