Should I seek care for coronavirus/COVID-19? | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Should I seek care for coronavirus/COVID-19?

You cannot go to an emergency department, immediate care center or your doctor and ask to be tested for coronavirus/COVID-19. If you are worried, this article will guide you on steps to take.

If you are feeling ill, you might be worried about whether you have the new coronavirus or COVID-19, given its presence in the news over the past several weeks. Unless your symptoms would have led you to go to the doctor under “normal” circumstances, it’s best for you to stay at home.

Unlike for the flu, your doctor cannot automatically test you for COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, to rule it out as the cause of your illness.

“If you develop symptoms, including cough and high fever after traveling to countries on the CDC Level 3 or Level 2 watch list or have had direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you’ll want to talk to a medical provider about next steps,” said James M. Frazier, M.D., vice president, medical affairs and quality, Norton Healthcare. “However, the decision of whether or not to administer the test is not driven by the individual feeling ill. It’s based on criteria provided by the CDC and in consultation with an infectious disease specialist.”

“Do not go to the emergency room unless you are having an emergency that puts your life in danger,” Dr. Frazier said. “Emergency situations include difficulty breathing, a high fever that doesn’t go away, or if you are elderly and/or have other health issues along with any shortness of breath or fever.”

Below are some guidelines to help you decide whether or not to seek care:

If you are over age 60 with chronic health conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease, or you believe you may have been exposed to coronavirus/COVID-19:

  • The safest option for containing the spread of any virus is to access Norton eCare for a virtual office visit with a Norton Healthcare provider from your mobile phone or computer. Sign in to MyNortonChart to get started. If you don’t have a MyNortonChart account, sign up at com/MyNortonChart. Norton eCare providers will be able to determine your appropriate treatment plan. (Check with your insurance carrier to confirm the services will be covered.)
  • If you feel you need to be seen right away, you can visit a Norton Immediate Care Center or Norton Prompt Care at Walgreens You can make an appointment online, but be sure to call ahead to tell the staff about your recent travel and symptoms. They will guide you on the appropriate next steps. Instead of being seen at that location, they may ask you to go to an off-site testing facility. If your symptoms are severe enough, they may tell you to visit an emergency room.
  • If you think your life is in danger or if you are having extreme difficulty breathing, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. If you think you have COVID-19, be sure to tell the 911 operator. This helps the ambulance team plan accordingly and let the emergency room staff know about your concerns right away.

If you are under age 60 and usually healthy, have not traveled to high-risk areas and have not been around anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19

  • Your first step should be to stay home and take fever-reducing medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin). Take your temperature regularly until your fever falls below 100 degrees.
  • Your decision on whether to seek medical care should not change just because of the coronavirus. If you’re feeling ill, but otherwise would not have sought medical care, please stay home. To avoid exposing others, do not go to a hospital, emergency room or doctor’s office.
  • If you decide that your situation requires medical care, please access Norton eCare for a virtual office visit with a Norton Healthcare provider from your mobile phone or computer. Sign in to MyNortonChart to get started. If you don’t have a MyNortonChart account, sign up at com/MyNortonChart. Norton eCare providers will be able to determine your appropriate treatment plan.
  • If Norton eCare is not an option for you, call your primary care provider to discuss your symptoms and next steps.
  • If you feel you need to be seen right away, you can visit a Norton Immediate Care Center or Norton Prompt Care at Walgreens location. You can make an appointment online, but be sure to call ahead if you are concerned about COVID-19 due to your recent travel and symptoms. They will guide you on the appropriate next steps.
  • If you think your life is in danger or if you are having extreme difficulty breathing, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

If you have general questions about COVID-19, you can call Kentucky’s hotline at (800) 722-5725. And remember, the Kentucky commissioner for public health, Steven J. Stack, M.D., MBA, said that 80% or more of the people infected with the new coronavirus will be fine. Many of them experience few or no symptoms.


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