Experts Say Not Everyone Who Has COVID-19 Needs To See A Doctor

Mar 19, 2020

Emergency rooms may not be the best options for Covid 19 patients seeking testing or care.

Information about the severity of the illness caused by the recent COVID-19 outbreak, and what to do if you think you have it, has been, at times conflicting. We’ve all been getting a lot of advice on how to avoid getting COVID-19, but what should you do if you think you might already be infected?

“Unless you have an emergent issue that needs to be treated you should avoid going into any healthcare facility.  There is no treatment available for coronavirus or COVID-19. The management of the symptoms you have is going to be the same as if you had a cold or a flu," said Kerry, the Executive Director of Connect-Care for Intermountain Healthcare and a nurse practitioner. 

“We actually are manning a 24 hour a day 7 day a week COVID call center here at Intermountain," Palakanis said. "That call center has nurses answering the calls and they can help answer any questions that patients have.” 

Even if you do have COVID-19, testing otherwise healthy patients isn’t a priority.

“We have a limited amount of testing available nationally, and particularly in Utah," Palakanis said. "We are prioritizing the actual running of tests based on the condition that a patient is in, and obviously non-hospitalized patients, their tests are a lower priority than somebody who is in the hospital.”

However, there are some patients who should seek care.

“Anybody who is experiencing shortness of breath and is not able to walk across a room, or who has shortness of breath at rest and it’s interfering with their ability to do their normal activities, they need to go to an intsa-care or an emergency room," Palakanis said. "Anyone with chest pain needs to be seen in an emergency room.”  

The toll-free number for the Covid call center is 844-442-5224.