Mar 27, 2020


Interviewer: All right. Time for another episode of "ER or Not." That's where we will throw out a scenario, you decide whether or not it's a reason to go to the ER or not, and then Dr. Troy Madsen will give us a definitive answer. So today, very timely, you think you might have the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Is that a reason to go to the ER or not?

Dr. Madsen: So if you think you have the coronavirus, don't go to the ER. That's my number one piece of advice. Now, there is an exception to that, if you feel like you are having trouble breathing, if you can't get enough oxygen, if you're lightheaded, you're concerned about blood pressure issues. So these are the ABCs, airway, breathing, circulation. So if you're having those issues, absolutely go to the ER. But if you're not and it's more like, "Hey, I've got a cough. I have a fever. I'm concerned I have coronavirus," the best thing to do is avoid the ER so you can leave those resources for the people who really need them right now.

So the resource that's available for you though, if you're concerned about coronavirus and you're not having those airway, breathing, circulation issues, is the university has in-car testing. So these are sites that are at various clinics across the Salt Lake Valley. You can go to these areas. You drive up there in your car. They do the test to tell you if you have coronavirus or not. Now, the testing results are going to take about 48 hours. Stay in self-quarantine. Don't go out in public, don't expose other people. And then you'll get a call with your results.

The recommendation I have is to call ahead. You can call a health care provider associated with these clinics. The number is 801-587-0712. And if you call that number, you'll talk to a health care provider. So again, that number is 801-587-0712 to talk to that health care provider and then get set up to go and get that in-car testing done through the university.

Interviewer: You would advise calling first before you go to the test site, is that correct, Dr. Madsen?

Dr. Madsen: I would. You can go to the test site and see a health care provider on-site. I know I've heard some people have been frustrated because they've done that and then the provider has said, "You don't really meet criteria to get testing done," just because these tests are limited, so they are limiting it to certain people who have certain symptoms. But the advantage of calling ahead is you've talked to someone, they're going to call and say, "Hey, this person is coming in. I have approved them to get this test done." It makes the process much smoother.

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