What to Do If You Think You Have COVID-19
The novel coronavirus and the illness it causes known as COVID-19 is making its way to our area. However, one of the best things we can do to protect ourselves and those around us is to stay calm and think before we act.
Before you rush to the ER, stop, and evaluate your situation, don’t let anxiety take over.
How Can I Get Tested for the Coronavirus?
What’s Wrong with Me?
Stop and think about your symptoms; there’s a good chance your symptoms are the result of the common cold.
If you have a runny nose, itchy eyes, and other mild symptoms, it could be just a cold. In this case, the best thing to do is to stay home and monitor your symptoms.
You should seek medical help when you have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Persistent cough,
- A high fever, and
- Any sort of respiratory distress such as shortness of breath,
Need Help? Rural County Contacts
Call Your Doctor Before You Go to the ER
Covid-19 and the flu virus share similar symptoms, so don’t panic. Call your primary care doctor and explain your symptoms in detail.
Your healthcare provider can assess your symptoms over the phone; they can also look into your travel history, and answer many of your concerns.
If your doctor suspects you have COVID-19, but your symptoms are mild, and you don’t have any underlying chronic illnesses such as heart problems, high blood pressure, asthma, or diabetes, they will probably recommend you self-quarantine at home.
If your doctor suspects you have COVID-19, but your symptoms are mild, remember to:
- Wear a face mask when you are around others
- Wash your hands frequently
- Disinfect countertops, and other surfaces frequently
- Avoid sharing plates, glasses, and other utensils
- Keep a minimum distance of 6 feet between you and other people
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash immediately afterward
- Stay home as much as possible
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
What About the ER
Going to the ER is not necessary if your symptoms are mild. A visit to the ER should be reserved for those who have severe symptoms and worsening shortness of breath, or when pneumonia develops.
At this time, only public health laboratories certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) can test for coronavirus infections and the illness it causes COVID-19.
If your symptoms warrant a trip to an Altus Emergency Centers, know that we are equipped and prepared to treat you with well-trained personnel. Although we cannot test you on site, we can collect samples and send them to an authorized lab for testing upon approval of the Health Department. Results take typically 48-72 hours to return.
Testing criteria includes having fever, cough, shortness of breath AND:
- prior close contact to someone that tested positive for COVID-19,
- prior travel to a location with ongoing transmission of COVID-19,
- having risk factors for getting very sick from COVID-19, or
- being hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms even if you do not have any risk factors.
Call Us Before Hand, and Follow the Safety Protocol
The safety of our patients and staff is our number one priority. The novel coronavirus is highly contagious, and therefore, we kindly ask you to call ahead of time if you believe you are infected. This way, we can take all the necessary precautions to keep you, our patients, and our staff safe.
We follow strict safety protocols, which include having all patients and visitors answer a coronavirus questionnaire. If you answer yes to any of the questions, we will provide you with a face mask and gloves. Additionally, we offer hand sanitizer stations at our entrance for you to use before entering our facility.
Altus Emergency Centers and all its staff is here to help our community. However, for us to be able to treat those patients who most require medical attention, we need your help.
We ask you to please stay calm, contact your doctor regarding your symptoms and only come to the ER when your symptoms are severe or if you are a high-risk patient.
By working together, we can help keep our communities safe and healthy.