Since establishing the state’s first COVID-19 Help Line on Sunday, March 8, more than 25,000 people have viewed the coronavirus risk assessment questionnaire and eight people have been sent on for further testing.
The Help Line, found at www.chihealth.com/coronavirus, is a two-step process for those in the community who are worried they may have COVID-19. Answers to three short questions determine what happens next. People are either directed to more information, Virtual Care or a phone line where a CHI Health healthcare team members will determine the next level of care.
“The Help Line is being well received. Just as we hoped, it’s providing trusted information and calming fears, while identifying those at high risk for COVID-19 and getting them help,” says Mike Schnieders, president, CHI Health Good Samaritan.
The Help Line is also working to contain virus spread, according to Dr. Scott Frankforter, medical director, CHI Health St. Francis. “When you limit exposure, you limit the spread of the virus. Rather than having 25,000 people visiting their doctor’s office, potentially sharing germs, you only have eight. And by knowing in advance they are coming in for testing, we can mask potential COVID-19 patients at their vehicle forgoing the waiting area and taking them straight to an isolation room.”
In addition to the Help Line, CHI Health has recently waived the $10 fee for Virtual Care visits.
“Virtual Care is a great option for people who are trying to avoid public places. You can be treated for a minor ailment, like a sinus infection, without leaving home. And during this time we are offering virtual visits at no cost,” say Dr. Frankforter.
Through Virtual Care, patients can talk to a doctor or nurse practitioner by phone or computer. The service can be used for a variety of minor medical problems like urinary tract infections and sore throats and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
To receive free care virtually, visit www.chihealth.com/virtualcare or call 1 (844) 355-2273.
To take the online questionnaire about COVID-19, visit www.chihealth.com/coronavirus.