Covid-19 tests are in short supply around the country and those suspected of being infected have been asked to call health agencies before showing up at facilities.
Citizens are expressing frustrations on major social media sites with criticisms of the lack of test kits available in the United States. Tensions boiled over to walk-in clinics, emergency centers and inundated drive-thru test centers with inadequate test kits.
Healthcare facilities are doing Telehealth evaluation calls to avoid exposure and increase safety measures.
If you feel you have symptoms related to covid-19 or have been exposed, here’s what happens when you call your health provider to get a covid-19 test.
First you must place a call to your primary health provider. If you do not have a primary health provider you may call the hospital receiving line to speak with an employee.
During this initial call you will be asked your symptoms, degree of separation to exposure and contact information.
The healthcare worker will then assign you a follow-up call to take place within 48 hours.
Healthcare workers need citizens to call for assessment instead of showing up to facilities. This helps spread the healthcare coverage and reduces strain on facilities.
“If you’re having milder case symptoms, even if it may possibly be from covid-19, we’re still advising people to stay home and self-isolate rather than potentially exposing other people and overwhelming the healthcare system,” A healthcare worker said during a Telehealth call.
A follow-up call is made to you by a nurse or doctor within the 48 hour time period. This call is to confirm your identity and contact information.
After verification the healthcare worker will send you a text message or email with request for Consent to Medical Services by Telehealth, Notice of Health and Privacy Practices and Authorization to receive Treatment.
Authorization Text Message
The authorization text message will be sent and should be received within 5-minutes.
When you receive the text message you are directed to a portal link where you can review and digitally sign the Consent to Medical Services by Telehealth, Notice of Health and Privacy Practices and Authorization to receive Treatment documents.
Once you finish signing the documents a notice is sent to the healthcare worker stating you are cleared for treatment.
When the healthcare worker receives your text notification they will contact you at the original number you provided.
The time between the notification and video call should be relatively short, around 5 minutes, as it is an instant notification to the healthcare workers.
This call is supposed to be a video chat, however video chat may not be available. In the case a video chat is unavailable a tele-evaluation will take place as a regular phone call.
A healthcare worker said on a Telehealth call “This is a brand new thing for us too. We’re trying to figure out a lot of trouble shooting.”
This call takes about 20 minutes and provides opportunity to ask questions in depth.
Once you speak with a healthcare professional you will be given a directive. Directives are categorized by threat level.
Directives can range from self-quarantine and isolation until you have no symptoms for for 72 hours, be prescribed cold medicines and see if symptoms go down, monitor breathing, seek emergency care, or they will green light you for a test.
“In general the evidence we do have is people under 45, the majority of 85% are able to clear it on their own,” a healthcare worker said on a Telehealth call.
Will You Get a Test?
Receiving a test is rare and reserved for maximum exposure and compromised citizens.
A healthcare worker on a Telehealth call said, “You are probably aware there’s very strict guidelines for who can actually get tested. Especially in the Orange County Health Department. In general if someone experiences symptoms it is concerning but were not able to actually test you. The current CDC recommendation is self-isolation and to self-quarantine until you have no symptoms for 72 hours. “
If you have continue to have symptoms or symptoms progressively become worse you are advised to call back and receive a re-evaluation.
“If at any point your fever is over 103 or you’re developing very concerning shortness of breath, where you’re really struggling, those might be reasons to seek more emergency attention,” a healthcare worker said over a Telehealth call.