Having flu-like symptoms? Call your doctor before going in to prevent Coronavirus spread

A simple call can steer you in the right direction
Posted at 6:21 PM, Mar 03, 2020

OMAHA. NEB. — To prevent community spread of the coronavirus, call your primary doctor before being seen to prevent spread. In Nebraska there is no community spread at this time, but taking the correct steps in being seen can help keep you and others stay safe.

"I would call your healthcare provider first and let them know, ask them what they would like you to do. They might have different procedures for different places," Anne O'Keefe with the Douglas County Health Department said.

The Douglas County Health Department says if you're having flu-like symptoms, like a fever or a cough, call your primary doctor first. They will ask you a list of CDC approved questions to make sure you are seeing the correct medical professional.

A KMTV employee recently went through this process with her husband and daughter, who after calls to their primary doctor and urgent care were urged to go to the emergency room over the father's possible exposure at work.

"I think the patient did absolutely the right thing. We want our patients to be calling ahead of time and discussing with their primary care providers," CHI Health infectious disease physician Dr. Renuga Vivekanandan said.

Some questions your doctor may ask are,

"Have you recently traveled to a country with widespread coronavirus cases?"

"Have you been in contact with someone who may have had the coronavirus?"

Depending on your answers, you may need to go to the emergency room. Our KMTV employee's husband and daughter ended up only being diagnosed with the flu at the emergency room. But a visit to the E.R. for a flu test can add up.

"We are prepared that that visit is going to be more expensive than had we been able to see our provider and be diagnosed right away," the KMTV employee said.

But it's up to your doctor to ask you those questions and recommend a place for treatment, whether that's your doctor's office, the urgent care or the emergency room.