When Should You Go to the Hospital With Coronavirus Symptoms?

March 30, 2020

As more serious COVID-19 cases are reported, the question on most people's minds revolves around when they should go to the hospital to seek medical treatment.

Most people suffering from coronavirus will experience mild symptoms that can be treated while staying home. However, some may experience more severe symptoms that will need medical attention.

Dr. John Torres, NBC News medical correspondent, said if people notice chest pain or shortness of breath, they should call a doctor first and then go to the ER to be evaluated. When experiencing shortness of breath, people may feel winded or cannot talk.

"If you notice any of these signs and they do not go away quickly, you need to be evaluated," Dr. Torres said.

Dr. Torres explained how people could go to urgent care first and get checked, but they may be sent home or directly to the hospital. He mentioned that it might be beneficial to schedule a video chat with your doctor first.

As New York City is currently the epicenter of the virus, the city reported a high volume of calls last week. The New York City Fire Department released a public service announcement on YouTube.

"New Yorkers, only call 911 during a real emergency," an EMT says in the video. "Allow first responders to assist those most in need ... If you have more severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing and very high fever, go to an emergency department. Only call 911 if you need help right away."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges that if a patient has an emergency, “notify the dispatch personnel that the patient has, or is being evaluated for COVID-19.”

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