Patients with COVID-19 Symptoms Should Call First

Patients with COVID-19 Symptoms Should Call First

Persons experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should call their medical clinic and discuss those symptoms with a local health care provider prior to their visit.  The provider can then further advise if they are safe to monitor at home or if they should be seen in the clinic, the ER, or by virtual appointment.

Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. Here is some information that might help you make decisions about seeking medical care or testing.

  • Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care. They may not need to be tested.
  • There is no treatment specifically approved for people who have COVID-19.
  • If you think you may be sick, stay home and consult with your healthcare provider on the need for testing.

Trouble breathing is a more serious symptom that means you should get medical attention.

According to Krista Stoecker, M.D., Family Medical Specialties, Holdrege, “If you are going to develop symptoms, we expect them to start within 14 days of your exposure. During that time, it is best if you are at home self-isolating and monitoring for symptoms.”  She added, “It may help to keep a log including a daily temperature measurement. To us, greater than 100.4F is considered a fever.”

Other symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, shortness of breath and fatigue.

Dr. Stoecker said “Some people have a sore throat or diarrhea but this is primarily a respiratory illness. You can have one or all of those symptoms and they may not all be at once.”

She advised that if someone has these symptoms and they are tolerable, they can stay home and let their body fight the infection. In that case, they should continue to drink a normal amount of water, use Tylenol for fever or body aches, and make sure to not just lay on the couch.  

She said, “One of the best things you can do for your lungs is use them. So you may rest, but lay in different positions including sitting in a chair and be sure to walk at least a few times daily.”

If a person is experiencing symptoms or having difficulty breathing, they should be seen either the Acute Care Clinic or at the Phelps Memorial Health Center Emergency Room. Family Medical Specialties opened the Acute Care Clinic to for patients to receive COVID-19 and other contagious illness related symptoms.

It is important to call first. One of the nurses or providers at the Acute Care Clinic can help determine the best place for the patient to be seen.  The new Acute Care Clinic increases the safety of both the main Family Medical Specialties and Phelps Medical Group clinics.  The Acute Care Clinic is located in a separate location to risk exposure to healthy patients. The new Acute Care Clinic is located at the Phelps Medical Plaza at 516 W 14th Ave, Holdrege, in suites 300 and 400. 

Within the Acute Care Clinic, changes have been implemented for staff and the patient safety:

  • The patients are to enter the back door (#9) and immediately wash their hands and don a mask upon entrance.
  • The staff, also wear patient protection equipment and practice cleanliness guidelines recommended by the CDC.

To schedule an appointment at this new clinic, patients can call Family Medical Specialties or Phelps Medical Group.

Telehealth visits with a medical provider are also available for people with mild to moderate symptoms.

Dr. Stoecker stated, “We can test for coronavirus at both the Acute Care Clinic and at the hospital.” 

According to Dr. Stoecker, tests are a deep nose swab and are typically sent to Omaha.  Results are returned in 48 hours.  She noted that there are other options available and other alternative methods for testing if demands change throughout the state or our first choice is no longer available.

She said, “We are still fairly limited in our state and can only test people who meet certain criteria.”

Currently, the testing guidelines follow recommendations made by the local and state health department and prioritized to:

  • Anyone who is hospitalized with suspicious symptoms
  • Health care workers/first responders (law enforcement/firefighters)
  • Nursing home staff
  • Residents of group homes including homeless shelters
  • Persons older than 65 years of age
  • Or persons with serious underlying conditions

Family Medical Specialties, Phelps Medical Group and Phelps Memorial Health Center are ready to meet the needs of the community.  If you have respiratory symptoms, including a fever, cough or shortness of breath please call ahead before seeing your provider or before going to the emergency room.

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