SPOKANE, Wash. — Health officials are recommending that people experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus, should get in touch with their doctor. But many people don’t want to be in crowds because of how the virus is spread and some doctors don’t want patients flocking to their offices.
So what should you do if you have symptoms and can’t see a doctor? You can visit one virtually.
MultiCare is offering free e-vists to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, including mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, with or without travel to China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea. The visits are also available to anyone exposed to someone who has traveled to these areas.
Virtual care patients can use the promo code COVID19 to waive the regular $25 fee for an e-visit.
MultiCare leaders say anyone experiencing severe breathing problems or other serious health issues that may or may not be related to COVID-19 should go to their nearest emergency department.
The severity of coronavirus symptoms ranges significantly. Some cases are very mild with symptoms similar to the common cold, and some cases are more like severe pneumonia that require hospitalization. Most deaths have been reported in older adults who had other health conditions, according to the state Department of Health.
Symptoms may appear as soon as two days after being exposed to the coronavirus or as long as 14 days.
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Those who have traveled to an affected area in the 14 days before the illness began, or if “have been identified by the health department as a recent close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case or had recent close contact with someone who is being evaluated for novel coronavirus infection,” should be tested for the virus, health officials said.
Health officials said one way to help stop the spread of the virus is for people to stay home from work if you are sick and to frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You should also avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose with unwashed hands.
A new Washington call center has also been set up to answer your questions about COVID-19. If you have questions about how the virus spreads, what is being done in Washington state, and what you can do if you have symptoms, call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.
KING 5 Staff contributed to this report.