Doctor Visit or Self-Isolate?


Our readers have contacted CVW with questions that range from symptoms of COVID-19 to when they should call their doctor or if they should go to the emergency room if they have an issue other than a concern for COVID-19.

CVW reached out to Mary Virgallito, RN, associate administrator of quality and patient safety at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, to answer some of these questions.

“If you need immediate medical attention, whether from a stroke, heart attack, traumatic injury or extreme respiratory distress, please visit an emergency department,” Virgallito stated.

The hospital has been preparing to respond to the 2019 coronavirus since December and has protocols in place including immediately isolating anyone who may have COVID-19. There is on-site virtual screening for anyone suspected of having COVID-19 to minimize risks to members of the emergency room staff and the hospital has implemented temperature screenings for anyone who enters the hospital.

“We urge the community to please seek emergency care when they need it, but to first reach out to their primary care physician if they feel they may have COVID-19,” she added.

Wait times remain steady as more precautionary measures are taken.

Many have found that their elective procedures have been postponed, including mammograms. Virgallito suggested patients contact their personal doctors to talk to them about any postponed testing or procedures.

For those who do not have insurance but have symptoms of COVID-19, it is advised to first self-isolate for 14 days or until they are no longer sick. This also means to stay isolated 72 hours after their temperature returns to normal without the need to use medication to bring down the fever.

“If you are experiencing extreme symptoms and need medical care, please visit an emergency department for treatment,” she added. “You may have access to financial assistance to cover the cost of testing.”

At present, USC-VHH is continuing to provide physical therapy and prescribed cardiac rehabilitation services.