Everyone wants to make sure that those affected by the novel coronavirus are able to get needed medical care and advice, but we must also be smart about how we are doing so in order to protect people who are at high risk for COVID-19. During this public health emergency, many people still need access to care for other illnesses and diseases. Often, these conditions can make these people more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, and more likely to suffer from severe COVID-19 symptoms. To keep older people and those receiving treatment for other illnesses safe from COVID-19, please do NOT go to a healthcare facility, including your doctor’s office, an urgent care clinic, or the emergency room without calling ahead as this could lead to the spread of COVID-19 to vulnerable people who are seeking care for other illnesses.
Instead, here are some of the steps that you can take: Become familiar with the symptoms of COVID-19.
Contact your primary care physician to explain your symptoms and medical history to determine if a test is warranted. Use the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) screening tool:
UAMS HealthNow is now offering a FREE screening tool. It’s available 24 hours a day and can be accessed from a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or computer. Go to https://uamshealth.com/healthnow/ and click on “Begin Screening.” The tool will guide you regarding your next steps – if any – such as contacting your primary care physician for further evaluation and possible testing for the virus.
Call the Arkansas coronavirus hotlines: For children (staffed by Arkansas Children's Hospital): 1-800-743-3616. For adults (staffed by UAMS): 1-800-632-4502. Contact the Arkansas Department of Health at 1-800-803-7847. If you are a MedicareBeneficiary, consider using Telemedicine services. Yesterday, the president announced an expansion of Medicare Telemedicine services to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by enabling people to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. For more information, please click HERE. For an FAQ on how to utilize telemedicine, please click HERE. Here is an easy guide to help you decide when you should seek care if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
As Arkansans, we certainly know how to care for our neighbors better than anyone, and together we will tackle this virus.