Some Urgent Care Centers Now Equipped To Handle Coronavirus Testing

The Coronavirus (Covid19) has taken most of America and the world for that matter by surprise, sending healthcare providers scrambling to figure out how to navigate the rapidly expanding needs of possible Coronavirus patients. Testing has been at the forefront of fighting the spread of the virus, which until recently could only be done in a hospital or specialized labs. 

However, just as rapidly as this virus is spreading, so too is the ingenuity of the state and Federal Government’s Coronavirus Task Force response teams. While most COVID-19 testing is still being conducted in hospitals, state and local Public Health Departments and drive-up testing sites, a new familiar face has been added to the arsenal of weapons being used to fight the pandemic. 

Urgent Care Centers Could Prove To Be A Critical Part Of The Covid Testing Challenge

Urgent Care Centers have long been an asset to Americans seeking non-emergency medical care, widely seen as less expensive or time consuming than a trip to the emergency room or sometimes even your doctors office. But now UrgentCare Centers are being inundated with patients seeking testing and or treatment for the Coronavirus. 

Here’s what you need to know if you are considering going to an Urgent Care Center for your Coronavirus symptoms. While many or most of the urgent care centers will see patients, either in person or through a telemedicine visit, for individuals who are concerned they may have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it, you need to know that not all urgent care centers are equipped to provide Coronavirus testing yet.

You Can Register With UrgentCare.com To Be Notified When UrgentCare Centers In Your Area Begin Providing Testing

It’s important to know you can rest assured that the CDC has provided protocol guidance to all healthcare providers, clinics, and institutions (including urgent care centers) regarding the level of protections required for interaction with possible Coronavirus patients (called PPE) to prevent the spread of the virus from patient to patient and to healthcare providers. 

Response to the Coronavirus is a very fast moving environment and is often changing from day to day because of the urgency of finding rapid and expanded testing sites and methods. Therefore, not all urgent care centers have adequate staff, tests, lab equipment, or site facilities to accommodate drive-up COVID-19 testing.

As of 2018 there were more than 8,700 urgent care centers in the United States, so your first step would be to locate an urgent care center that is within your area of travel and call to ask if they provide COVID-19 tests. As of the writing of this article, April 2, 2020 most of the urgent care centers that have the testing equipment and supplies are affiliated with a hospital. In example, in New York which is now considered the epicenter of the virus at the moment, GoHealth Urgent Care centers which are affiliated with the Northwell Health hospital system where their centers are providing testing for more than 100 patients a day

Typically the urgent care center you call will first interview you by phone or text to ask you specific symptoms and general health related questions in order to further advise you as to your next steps. If you cannot find a local urgent care center in your area contact your local or state Health Department or the CDC. As rapid testing methods increase and test supplies become more available, so too will the ability of all urgent care centers to provide Americans nationwide with testing and treatment in the fight of this pandemic.

 

Some States Are Piloting Curbside Covid19 Testing In Effort To Stop Spread Of The Virus

The latest step to treat and stop the spread of the Coronavirus has been the opening of drive-thru COVID-19 testing stations. In the past week 8 states which include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Minnesota, New York, Texas, and Washington have initiated drive up testing sites in the cities hardest hit by the Coronavirus. These sites are typically manned with healthcare professionals and/or often assisted by the National Guard. The testing stations are currently only providing tests for individuals who have been pre-screened, deemed priority, and have a scheduled appointment in order to receive a free Coronavirus test. Test patients are asked to self quarantine until their test results are known and further guidance is given.

Curbside Testing Is Not Available In Most States Yet – But It Is Expected To Be Soon

Because of the ongoing shortage of the availability of tests, the capacity of the testing is limited to what the CDC is considering “priority” testing. The exact criteria for priority testing status at this time is not “completely” transparent and may vary slightly from state to state, but in general is said to be limited to certain healthcare workers, first responders (police, fire/rescue etc.) operators of critical infrastructure, and “high risk” persons such as; those presenting specific Coronavirus symptoms who are suspected likely to have the Coronavirus, or those who experienced direct exposure to an infected person. 

Unfortunately there are only a few of these testing stations in each of the hotspot states experiencing the highest infection rates of this pandemic. It is expected that the number of facilities providing testing in this manner will continue to expand. 

This week in a news conference, President Trump said, We’ve been in discussions with pharmacies and retailers to make drive through tests available in the critical locations identified by public-health officials. He further stated, “The goal is for individuals to be able to drive up and be swabbed without having to leave your car.” It is very likely that many urgent care providers may begin to participate in this exact same manner. 

Initially Robert Redfield, director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told a House committee that the CDC was not planning to initiate drive through testing sites because, “We’re trying to maintain the relationship between individuals and their healthcare providers.” But as the Coronavirus has spread rapidly across the U.S. President Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force and the president himself have said that the drive-through testing would likely be expanding across the country in the coming weeks, and that his administration was in talks with the private sector as well such as; Walmart and Target, and CVS and Walgreens to begin offering testing stations.

Of course, as we have already reported, Urgent Care Centers have already begun to join the fight, it is simply not as widespread yet, as to meet the needs of the incredible demand from concerned consumers. As of yet there is a limited number of Urgent Care Centers that are currently able to operate walk-up and drive-through testing sites, but depending on the availability of testing supplies the urgent care industry expects their testing sites to expand as well.

You can contact us here within this site if you have questions, as well as register for updates on when drive-thru testing is available in your area.  In addition to that, UrgentCare.com is also helping individuals find access to Covid screening and telemedicine services that can address individuals concerns regarding the virus. This includes coordinating access to actual covid testing as well as for counseling for those who are experiencing anxiety and other negative effects from fear of Covid19. 

In the interim, we can’t express enough the seriousness of the Covid19 virus and how it is critical important for everyone to act responsibly, wash and sanitize your hands frequently, obey the stay at home orders or guidelines for your area, and for everyone’s sake including your own maintain social distancing practices. Let’s all do our part to stop this deadly virus in its tracks. 

 

Apple and the CDC Collaborate On Covid 19 Screening Tool Available For Concerned Individuals Seeking Answers

As local, state, and federal agencies are being swamped with inquiries from concerned citizens regarding testing and potential treatment centers for the Coronavirus, an unprecedented partnership between the CDC and Apple has brought the release of the COVID-19 screening tool. The user-friendly online screening tool or app is free and specifically designed to aid people by providing step by step accurate and up-to-date information on the Coronavirus and help people understand what to do next about their concerns or needs about COVID-19.

The CDC wants you to be informed and know the best practices for people seeking help for testing or treatment for the virus. The screening tool is very easy to use and will ask if you are using the tool for yourself or for someone else. The answers you give are not shared with Apple or the CDC without your permission. By using the tool you must agree to its terms which release Apple from any liability for harm as related to your using the screening tool, this simply means that the Apple screening tool recommendations provided do not constitute medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat medical conditions. This is a standard liability waiver agreement which most apps contain.

The first thing the screening tool will ask is if this is an emergency it will advise you to contact 911 if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Severe, constant chest pain or pressure
  • Extreme difficulty breathing
  • Severe, constant lightheadedness
  • Serious disorientation or unresponsiveness

If your situation or that of someone you’re caring for is not an emergency the tool will ask you to answer some questions about your; age, symptoms, pre-existing health conditions if any, contact you may have had with others that are/may be infected with the Coronavirus, whether or not you have had any recent international travel destinations, if you live in or visited an area with a widespread COVID-19 infection outbreak, and whether you live or work in a healthcare facility.

Once you have answered these basic questions and based on your responses the screening tool will provide you with clear and concise next step recommendations which include; whether or not you need to be tested for Coronavirus as well as guidance as to how and where you can accomplish this, isolation recommendations, social distancing recommendations, and guidance on using the screening tool for follow up instructions.

This tool is an important means for you to help yourself and your community by clearly knowing your status, informing you on how not to endanger others to exposure, and providing you with clear cut recommendations as to appropriate steps to take so as to reserve care for those that are truly in need.

According to Apple and the CDC, by using this tool you are doing your very important part to help stop COVID-19. Again, it is critically important to note that this information is not shared with anyone or any entity without your expressed agreement. The information collected by this screening tool will not personally identify you.

Pediatric Urgentcare Expansions

It’s just after midnight on a Tuesday, and you’re up for the fourth time since putting your 3-year-old to bed four hours earlier. As she complains for the umpteenth time about her ear pain, you realize that no amount of medicine in your house is going to resolve this ear infection. Now, you’re faced with a tough call – wait it out overnight so you can run by the pediatrician’s office in the morning, find a local pediatric urgent care place that’s still open or risk the local emergency room.

Waiting it out isn’t always an option for parents, especially when an ear infection is keeping the whole house awake overnight, and a trip to the ER can last several hours and cost hundreds of dollars. Urgent care centers, particularly those equipped for treating kids, are your best bet for non-life-threatening emergencies. Short wait times, licensed medical professionals and quick diagnoses make after-hours clinics a good choice for unexpected illness or injury. Plus, some locations offer 24-hour care.

Pediatric urgent care has evolved over the last few decades. Once considered a last resort among those in the medical field, after-hours clinics have quickly become the go-to treatment option for weary parents who need fast results. Even major hospitals have adopted walk-in clinics as part of their operations, and urgent care facilities are expanding across the United States. In the field of pediatrics, doctors-turned-entrepreneurs are looking for even more innovative ways to deliver urgent care to children.

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How Telepsych Benefits Patients

One out of every five Americans experiences some form of mental illness – a number that continues to grow each year despite an increase in awareness and treatment options. At 20 percent of the population, that means that about 44 million people deal with conditions like anxiety, depression or more serious disorders like psychosis. Sixteen million Americans suffer from major depression alone, which is the number one cause of disability around the world. Among the homeless population, 26 percent live with a serious mental illness. Nationwide, just over 10 million adults suffer from co-occurring disorders of mental health and addiction. These statistics come from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Mental health continues to play an integral role in today’s health care system as a whole. Prison inmates, the homeless and even children suffer from a wide range of issues. Unfortunately, more than half of those who are dealing with a mental illness don’t get the help that they need. And problems start early. According to the NAMI, half of all chronic mental illnesses are evident by the time a person turns 14 while 75 percent of chronic conditions are present by age 24.

As America continues to reform its health care industry, more emphasis will be placed on mental health care. Telemedicine is one solution to the growing problem of how to treat people with mental health problems, especially those who live in underserved areas. Telepsychiatry is not a new concept by any means. In fact, telemedicine started in psychology, at the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute in 1959. Since then, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have adopted various ways of utilizing technology in treating mental illness. Whether it’s a consultation with a psychologist via video conferencing at home or remote observation in an emergency room, Telepsychiatry has the potential to save lives. For those who live with mental illness, telemedicine offers several significant benefits.

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5 Reasons to Use an Urgent Care Clinic for Non-Urgent Care

When you think of an urgent care clinic, you might assume that these after-hours practices are designed for broken bones, sudden fevers and the stomach flu. And while walk-in clinics are meant to help you during non-life-threatening emergencies, many urgent care practices also offer a wide range of preventive services and routine screenings to keep you healthy throughout the year. Whether you’ve got an ongoing sore throat or it’s time to take the kids in for a physical, an urgent care center can be a good option. Here are five great reasons to turn to an urgent care practice for non-urgent care.

#1: Convenience

First and foremost, an urgent care clinic is convenient. Operating hours vary, but most are open every weekday, at least one weekend day and extended evening hours. They try to accommodate people who work a standard 9-to-5 schedule, so you’re likely to be able to come in for a quick appointment when it suits you best. The most convenient part about urgent care practices is that you don’t need an appointment. You may wait to be seen, but it won’t take nearly as long as it would at the local emergency room, and it may even be quicker than your primary care doctor’s office. Not only is this a great feature for when you develop a UTI overnight, but it’s also a plus when you need to squeeze in a yearly checkup between conference calls at work. It can also be tough to set up multiple appointments if you have kids. Pediatric urgent care centers offer a simple solution to hectic scheduling.

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How Telemedicine Services Can Treat Strep Throat

During the flu and cold season, it can be difficult to know what a sore throat means. Is it a cold, could it be the flu, or is it strep throat? To really know and get on the proper treatment plan you will need the help of a doctor to get the answers you need. A telemedicine video chat doctor appointment can give you those answers and right from the comfort of your own home, office, or whatever location you happen to be at the time; out of town, on vacation, on a business trip.

A face-to-face telemedicine video chat doctor appointment can save you time and even money. Most video chat consultations cost less than a typical doctor’s office visit and may even cost less if your health insurance carrier is one of the (increasingly) many that now include telemedicine in your healthcare coverage.

It’s very simple to register online with a telemedicine company, usually taking less than twenty minutes. You will fill in some health history information, who your primary care physician is and other physician specialists if applicable, health insurance carrier (in case you are covered for video chat doctor appointments), and any allergies to medications.

Once registered, you can then initiate a face-to-face video chat doctor appointment at your convenience, place and time which will take place either on your computer, or your phone by downloading a free mobile phone device app. You will be presented a list of U.S. board certified doctors licensed to practice medicine in your state that are available to answer your call at your requested time and date. Choose your doctor and get started to a diagnosis and treatment plan within minutes. *Make certain to conduct your video chat doctor appointment in a quiet, well lit room (make sure there are no bright or glaring lights in the background).

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How Telemedicine Services Can Treat Bronchitis

If you have a persistent cough that just won’t seem to go away, perhaps after having a cold or upper respiratory infection, it’s possible you have bronchitis. Typically, as annoying and disruptive to your life bronchitis may be (loss, interrupted sleep, etc.) it is possible, over an extended period of time, to heal from bronchitis without a doctors help for otherwise healthy people. But, it should be noted that the possibility for developing more serious conditions such as pneumonia do still exist even for otherwise healthy people.

However, for the elderly, young children and those with pre-existing respiratory issues untreated bronchitis can pose serious health risks and or consequences and should always be addressed by seeking medical expertise from a doctor.

A nagging persistent cough may not seem reason enough to have to take time off from work or from your child’s school day to sit in a crowded doctor’s office with sick people, but the truth is that you really should see a doctor to receive a diagnosis and afterword develop a treatment plan to prevent possible complications.

The good news is that it’s not necessary for you to miss work or your child to miss school, a video chat doctor consultation can allow you to consult face-to-face with a U.S. board certified doctor licensed from the state you live in to make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan for you.

Telemedicine offers patients the option to choose the time and place their video chat doctor appointment occurs.  You can schedule your doctor appointment to occur from the comfort and privacy of your home, office, or if you’re away from any location you happen to be. Most importantly is that you can see (virtually) a doctor within a matter of minutes rather than days, which is often key to getting you back to robust health.

To have a (virtual) video chat doctor appointment takes less than an hour typically; it only takes minutes to register online with a telemedicine company answering simple questions about your health history, allergic reaction to medications, who your primary care doctor is and health insurance provider information (because your insurance may cover telemedicine doctor appointments). Once you are registered online with the telemedicine company of your choice you can then choose the date you want to schedule your video chat doctor appointment, inputting as soon as possible as the time frame. Typically, you will have a response within just a few minutes with a list of U.S. board certified doctors who are available to provide you with a video chat consultation. Now the choice is yours.

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How Telemedicine Services Can Treat Allergies

The change of the seasons may be beautiful to look at, but for people who suffer from seasonal allergies it can be difficult to appreciate the beauty of it all. The symptoms of allergies vary and can be very mild as in the sudden appearance of a rash which may require a doctor to prescribe prescription medication to treat all the way to life threateningly severe such as anaphylaxis which requires immediate attention in a hospital emergency room.

Allergies are triggered when the immune system has an over-reaction to a foreign substance, the substance may be harmless to others but for those who are allergic the immune system identifies it as harmful and sets in motion an inflammatory response. In most cases a doctor can diagnose allergies based on a careful examination of a patient’s history. However, it may be necessary to have blood tests or skin testing to confirm that the reaction is caused by an allergy.

When you have an allergic reaction treatment is typically going to be in the form of avoidance of the allergen and prescription medication. You could try and get a doctor’s office appointment, but why would you sit in a doctor’s waiting room for an hour or more when you could simply have a telemedicine video chat doctor consultation from the comfort of your own home?

It’s easy to get started, online registration with a telemedicine company takes less than twenty minutes typically and all that is required is a computer or mobile phone device to which you can download a free mobile app. You will provide medical background and health insurance information (your telemedicine video chat consultation may be covered by your insurer) as well as your chief complaint at the time and within minutes you will receive a contact list of the available doctors ready to have a face-to-face video consultation with you. You can save time and money too, most video chat doctor appointments cost less than an office visit at your doctor’s office and if your health insurance company covers your video chat consultation you will save even more.

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Telemedicine Appointments for Travel Medical Consultation

When making travel plans one of the most important parts of your planning should be seeing a travel medicine doctor before your trip. Whether your trip is across the country or international it is important to consult with a travel medicine doctor to ensure that your travels are healthy and safe.

A travel medicine video chat consultation can be a quick and easy way to prepare for your trip abroad. A video travel medicine doctor appointment can help you to be prepared for anything as simple as motion sickness to malaria. The only requirement is a computer or mobile phone (to which you download a free app) and you are ready to initiate your face-to-face travel medicine video chat consultation.

The process for registering for a video chat consultation is quick and easy. It is accomplished online by registering with the telemedicine company of your choice. You will be asked to provide information regarding your family health history, personal health history, insurance information (not required), choice of local pharmacy, allergies, and any present or pre-existing health issues and medications you are taking.

Once you have requested a travel medicine video chat consultation you will receive a selection of U.S. board certified travel medicine doctors licensed in your state to choose from that are available for a video chat consultation on the date and time frame you have requested. It typically is just a matter of minutes to get a response to your request for an appointment. It should be noted that travel medicine is a specialty practice and response time may vary due to doctor availability in your state.

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