Valley health care providers are preparing for patients who need the test for the coronavirus.
Hospitals in the Dignity Health Southwest Division, including Northridge Hospital Medical Center and Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center, will be part of a free virtual urgent care service for community members experiencing coronavirus symptoms.
Dubbed Virtual Care Anywhere, the service is a safe alternative for those needing to speak with a medical professional without having to visit a physical location. There is a $35 fee for the service, but Dignity plans to waive it for patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
“As ambulatory and acute care facilities across the country experience an increase in the number of patients with COVID-19 symptoms, virtual health care visits can help providers meet demand while reducing potential transmission of the coronavirus,” Dignity said in a statement.
Users are encouraged to visit dignityhealth.org/virtualcareanywhere, download Virtual Care Anywhere through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store or call 855-356-8053 and enter code ‘COVID-19.’ A physician will contact a patient within 15 to 30 minutes after the patient requests a virtual care visit, although “high demand may result in longer wait times,” Dignity added.
The nonprofit Valley Community Healthcare has announced it has received 15 free test kits for COVID-19, intended for its own patients as the center is not an “open site” for testing.
The Van Nuys-based health care system officially received the kits March 19, but because of a continuing shortage of the kits and backlog at labs, there is a strict protocol to get tested, VCH said.
“Testing is done only when confirming the virus will actually inform a higher level of treatment,” the organization said in a statement. Patients must have severe symptoms including respiratory issues and be in a high-risk age group.
As of Monday, no patient has met the criteria yet to be tested, VCH added. Test results take an average of five days.